Archive for February, 2012

An Offa the Prime Minister can’t refuse

, 21 February 2012

Les Ebdon, vice-chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, is the nominee of Business Secretary, Vince Cable. The cross-party BIS select committee interviewed Ebdon and rejected his appointment with a 4-2 division on clear party lines: four Conservatives objected to Ebdon’s appointment and two Labour members supported it (the Liberal Democrat member and two others...

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A tale of four summits

, 20 February 2012

The first thing a summit does is allow Ministers to set the political agenda. It is cheap symbolism. The holding of a summit allows an issue to be aired, with no commitment of funds. Ministers get invited onto Today (as was Caroline Spelman) to tell us that there is a problem and she is...

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Shuffling the pack or stacking the deck?

, 7 February 2012

Cameron’s resistance to reshuffle is in part a reaction to the supposed shuffle-fever of Tony Blair – a reason for resistance in the resignation of Liam Fox. And indeed, the problem of ministerial churn is something that the Institute for Government has highlighted. However, this does beg the question of whether Blair was as...

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When is Whitehall not like a business? A response from PASC

, 6 February 2012

The Civil Service today, unlike other private or public sector entities, must now meet the demand for four contrasting skill sets simultaneously.  The well established skills of policy advice to Ministers, management of public services, and contracting, outsourcing and procurement must be practiced in conjunction with the new skills which arise from the demands...

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Government reshuffles

, 2 February 2012

There is a lot of change in Whitehall. The parting of the old guard means that over half of the permanent secretaries in charge of departments were not in post before the election.  The civil service has a new and differently organised leadership (though the merger of the Permanent Secretary at No.10 post with...

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