A more effective Whitehall

Civil servants, ministers, the centre and departments

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 »

Budget 2015: delivering the spirit of the Conservative manifesto

, 8 July 2015

The Budget was the time to tell whether the Chancellor was serious about delivering the Conservative manifesto to the letter. The answer is no, but before anyone gets too excited he is certainly delivering the spirit of it.

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »

The growing role of Government non-executive directors

, 7 July 2015

Government non-executive directors have a growing role, says Sir Ian Cheshire – and they will be important over the next 18 months as the Government tries to advance its agenda while introducing significant spending reductions.

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | 1 Comment »

How serious is the Government about its fiscal challenge?

, 6 July 2015

Yet another Budget is almost upon us. It will tell us a lot about how the Chancellor and his colleagues intend to tackle the challenge they set themselves in the Conservative manifesto.

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »

A sense of direction: when permanent secretaries object to ministerial decisions

, 6 July 2015

What happens when a Permanent Secretary objects to a ministerial decision? Gavin Freeguard gives a quick update on ‘ministerial directions’.

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | No Comments »

The Government should give a realistic commitment to Agile

, 30 June 2015

The new Minister for the Civil Service, Matt Hancock, has said that the civil service should become more “agile”. He’s right, says Daniel Thornton – but it’s not quite that easy

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | 1 Comment »