Parliament and the political process

Guest blog: Special advisers – the unelected lynchpin

, 2 December 2014

The popular image of the special adviser resembles a political villain out of central casting. In a game of Associate, the term would be linked with: scheming, unelected, unaccountable, media, bullying, backroom boys. They are meant to be the shadowy hand operating behind the curtains of power, alternately manipulating their dull-witted political masters and...

Posted in Parliament and the political process | No Comments »

Let’s get fiscal: the implications of the Smith Commission Agreement

, 28 November 2014

Yesterday’s publication of the Smith Commission Agreement marked an important step in the next phase of devolution to Scotland. The five parties that took part in the Commission have achieved a remarkable feat in agreeing a wide-ranging package of new powers to be devolved.


Posted in Parliament and the political process | No Comments »

Smith is a major constitutional milestone – but on a road to where?

, 28 November 2014

The Smith Commission report on further devolution to Scotland sets out a package of further powers that the unionist and nationalist parties have agreed should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament. Inevitably this goes too far for some and not far enough for others. The detail of the package – which includes further tax,...

Tags: ,
Posted in Parliament and the political process | No Comments »

Scottish Cabinet reshuffle: gender trouble?

, 21 November 2014

Nicola Sturgeon has announced her new Cabinet today. Following her selection as Scotland’s first female First Minister, she told the Scottish Parliament that she hoped her presence in the top job would send ‘a strong, positive message to girls and young women – indeed, to all women – across our land’. But...

Posted in Parliament and the political process | No Comments »

Guest blog: Evidence check – are the Department for Education’s policies evidence-based?

, 21 November 2014

In March 2013, the Department for Education published a paper by Dr Ben Goldacre which argued that teachers have the opportunity to “become an evidence based profession”, by using evidence to improve outcomes in education in the same way as in medicine.


Posted in Parliament and the political process | No Comments »

That the question be not now put

, 12 November 2014

In order to understand the parliamentary procedure which Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, used during the debate on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) opt-in on Monday you need to start by understanding the normal process of debate in the House of Commons.

Posted in Parliament and the political process | No Comments »

Streaming data: Civil Service Fast Stream recruitment in six charts

, 20 October 2014

The latest statistics on the Civil Service Fast Stream are in the news today, through the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s State of the Nation report and an article by Labour’s Shadow Equalities Minister, Gloria de Piero. Petr Bouchal and Gavin Freeguard look at the longer-term trends.

Posted in Parliament and the political process | No Comments »

The updated guidance on the Osmotherly Rules

, 20 October 2014

Civil servants running the biggest projects will now be directly accountable to Parliament. The 34-year-old Osmotherly rules, providing guidance for ministers and civil servants appearing before select committees, have been rewritten to allow parliamentary select committees to question key officials (the Senior Responsible Owners or SROs) about the implementation of key projects.

Posted in Parliament and the political process | No Comments »

By Prime Ministerial Appointment: the PM and Permanent Secretaries

, 17 October 2014

The Civil Service Commission had gone out on a limb on the issue of Permanent Secretary appointments in face of the views of the three main parties and many senior civil servants. So its latest announcement that the Prime Minister will, in future, be given a choice of candidates for around 25 heads of...

Posted in Parliament and the political process | Comments Off

Devo Gaps: Parties remain far apart on Scottish devolution plans

, 10 October 2014

Just three weeks ago the people of Scotland voted to stay in the UK. Today, the debate on the next phase of devolution begins in earnest as Scotland’s five main political parties (the four you would guess plus the Scottish Greens) have submitted their proposals to Lord Smith of Kelvin – the one-man commission...

Posted in Parliament and the political process | 2 Comments »