A more effective Whitehall

Civil servants, ministers, the centre and departments

The numbers behind the efficiency savings

, 25 August 2015

The government’s latest figures for efficiency savings were published on 17th August. The headline figure looked encouraging: £18.6bn saved in 2014/15, up 25% on a like-for-like basis from 2013/14. This might sound very positive, but is rather misleading. Both this year’s and last year’s numbers are measured against a 2009/10 baseline, so the savings...

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »

Demographic audit: diversity of appointments to public bodies

, 19 August 2015

A few weeks ago, the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) published its annual statistics. OCPA ‘regulates the processes by which Ministers (including Welsh Ministers) make appointments to the boards of national and regional public bodies’, so the annual statistics show us how many appointments and reappointments were made over the year,...

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »

Where next for digital transformation?

, 12 August 2015

A week after Mike Bracken announced that he was leaving his post as the head of GDS to join the board of the Co-Op group as Chief Digital Officer, GDS’ current Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Foreshew-Cain announced on the GDS blog: “I’ve been running GDS for a year, now I’m stepping up to lead...

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »

Firm direction: Kids Company and ministerial directions

, 5 August 2015

As Jill pointed out in her blogpost earlier today, the news that Kids Company may be about to close its services ‘provides rapid vindication’ of the Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary’s decision to request a ministerial direction. Richard Heaton (soon to become Permanent Secretary at MoJ) requested one, on value for money grounds, on 26 June....

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »

Staff reductions on the horizon: charting civil service staff numbers

, 4 August 2015

Gavin Freeguard on the challenges of charting multiple government departments.

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | 1 Comment »

Academy chains in a tangle

, 30 July 2015

Last week, the Sutton Trust, a charity focused on improving social mobility through education, released a report on the performance of academy chains operating across England and Wales. Many academies are standalone schools but over a third of the UK’s 4,000-plus academies are now run by chains overseeing three or more academy schools. The...

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »

Shrinking Whitehall

, 28 July 2015

The news that government is considering restructuring as one solution to the current spending squeeze is not surprising. Mergers are often sought as a solution to crises in both the public and private sector, and secretaries of state will have to consider all options if they are to respond to George Osborne’s recent request...

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | 1 Comment »

Major Projects Authority Annual Report, 2015: the departmental picture

, 20 July 2015

The Department of Health now has the most projects, closely followed by the Ministry of Defence. Major projects are not spread equally across Whitehall departments. Between them, DH and the MoD are responsible for 40% of the entire MPA portfolio. DH’s portfolio has been swelled by 14 new projects to 41 this year, overtaking...

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »

Major Projects Authority Annual Report, 2015: the picture across government

, 17 July 2015

Thanks to the transparency of the Major Projects Authority, we know more about government’s major projects than ever before. But what does the MPA’s third annual report, published in late June, tell us? Emily Andrews and Gavin Freeguard have the answers. We are very grateful to the data team at the MPA for...

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »

Austerity, reform and leadership: the view from the Foreign Office

, 16 July 2015

As he retires after six years as a Permanent Secretary, first at BIS and since August 2010 at the FCO, Sir Simon Fraser reflects on the FCO’s response to austerity and the need for reform, its relationship with wider Whitehall, and his efforts to develop a more diverse workforce and inclusive Departmental culture. The...

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »