Wish you were here? Tales from New Zealand’s journey of civil service reform

, 14 July 2014

Much of the language used and aspirations conveyed by Mr Rennie sounded familiar to followers of the UK’s civil service reform agenda. However, Mr Rennie’s presentation (and the response by Mark Lowcock, permanent secretary at the Department for International Development, and head of a working group on accountability arrangements in Whitehall), also illustrated some...

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The reshuffle dilemma: make-over or make progress?

, 14 July 2014

With the long-awaited reshuffle imminent, there are likely to be several changes among junior ministers. While this may or may not make for good party management, it threatens to disrupt policy implementation at the point when stability and focus are needed most.

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Clarifying accountability – the latest objectives for permanent secretaries

, 11 July 2014

The objectives for permanent secretaries for 2014-15 form the basis for their performance management. The objectives will be used by the Cabinet Secretary or the Head of the Civil Service – the permanent secretaries are managed between them – for annual appraisal discussions and pay awards. The Institute was highly critical when the last...

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Guest blog: A response to Martin Donnelly’s speech on the Civil Service

, 10 July 2014

Martin Donnelly is to be commended for arguing for the policy role of a permanent civil service in such cogent and skilful terms in his IFG speech. The more recent, unrelated row over a job description for permanent secretaries, with its perhaps clumsy attempt to describe a stewardship role, shows this can be dangerous...

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Armitt’s National Infrastructure Commission – moving towards a more sensible debate

, 9 July 2014

Ed Miliband announced last week that Labour intends to establish an independent National Infrastructure Commission if it returns to power.

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Guest blog: What’s wrong with the Treasury? A reply to Emran Mian

, 9 July 2014

The Treasury is portrayed as the villain behind all the constraints on departments. I also agree with Emran about how important it remains to protect the Treasury’s position against overwhelming odds (there are more spending department votes across the Cabinet table than Treasury ones), and the importance of continuity. However, that doesn’t mean there...

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