Archive for October, 2010

Public appointments: what role for parliament?

, 29 October 2010

This Monday a pair of senior economists spent two hours defending their professional competence and personal independence to the House of Commons Treasury Committee. Stephen Nickell and Graham Parker are the Chancellor’s proposed candidates to join Chair Robert Chote at the new Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR).

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A smaller Whitehall must better manage its best talent

, 25 October 2010

Last week we compared the first three years of a Fast Streamer with the first three years of in a consultancy. The contrast was illuminating. Despite the difficult and exacting selection process, Fast Streamers are likely to have no formal induction to the Civil Service, although there are Departments that are honourable exceptions. Having applied...

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What to make of the Spending Review speech?

, 21 October 2010

What we heard certainly had one key ingredient. It sketched out a long term future, one of the key requests emerging from our Citizen’s Jury work in July. There was an emphasis on growth, and ways to get there – particularly protecting science and education, which has strong echos of Sweden and Finland’s successful...

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Spending Review: can transparency trump temptation?

, 18 October 2010

Up to now, the message from the Coalition government has largely been doom and gloom. However, in the last few days there have been a lot of ‘good news’ stories around the Spending Review, such as protecting schools and lesser than expected defence cuts.

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The fate of quangos

, 15 October 2010

Early on in my civil service career, I worked on the abolition of the Greater London Council (GLC). One of the Thatcher government’s charges against the GLC was that it wasted ratepayers’ money on a plethora of loony left causes.

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No 2 to No 10: taking MINDSPACE to Downing Street

, 13 October 2010

The Behavioural Insight Team – or ‘nudge’ unit, as Ministers call it – is about applying behavioural economics and social psychology to policy in a systematic way.

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How permanent secretaries reach the top

, 8 October 2010

We looked at the people who were permanent secretaries and second permanent secretaries in the main departments of state and the devolved administrations at the end of 2009. This gives a total of 29 people who can sit round the table at the Cabinet Secretary’s Wednesday morning meeting.

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Parliament’s new centre of gravity

, 6 October 2010

This was the key theme of Sir George Young, the Leader of the House of Commons, at the IfG / Hansard Society fringe meeting on the role of the MP at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham yesterday. He was strongly supported by Andrew Tyrie MP and Stephen Dorrell MP, who chair two of...

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