Parliament and the political process

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...

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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.


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Special advice: how to make a prime ministerial unit work

, 19 November 2014

The phone rings. It’s the prime minister. You’re being asked to lead a unit to take on the burning issue which Whitehall business-as-usual can’t or won’t solve. What should you do? Our advice is to pause, breathe deeply, and read the Institute for Government’s guide to leading a central government unit. The Special Ones:...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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...

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Total recall: the background to the recall of Parliament

, 25 September 2014

Parliament is being recalled on Friday to debate the UK response to the Iraqi Government's request for support against ISIL. But what is ‘recall’, how is it decided when MPs and peers should be summoned back to Westminster when Parliament isn’t sitting, and how unusual is it?

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I-Parliament?

, 12 September 2014

The government has made much of ‘digital by default’. Now Parliament is getting in on the act with its new e-system for written questions. How might it make a difference?

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