Civil service legislation: international comparisons and the case for more clarity

, 20 September 2013

Legislation can embed change and establish norms of expected behaviour. Northcote and Trevelyan argued in their seminal report on the Civil Service in 1854 that overcoming the ‘powerful interests’ of the status quo needed ‘the force of law’. Their recommendation was ignored until 2010, but elsewhere – such as in New Zealand – legislation...

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Guest blog: Inspiration for Government – the Education Endowment Foundation toolkit

, 17 September 2013

Our award came the same week as a study published by the Department for Education found that over half (52%) of secondary schools and a third (33%) of primary schools had used the toolkit. These echoed the findings of a survey by the Sutton Trust. Several thousand schools have now used our guide. To...

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Civil servant asked to do job – shock

, 16 September 2013

We have grown used to the idea that policy reviews should be done by anyone other than the Civil Service. The FT suggested that a review of policy should have been undertaken by a minister – but then points out that, in a coalition, the question of which minister is fraught.  Would this be...

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Parliament, the Royal Prerogative and decisions to go to war

, 6 September 2013

The power to commit troops in armed conflict is one of the remaining Royal Prerogatives – that is powers that are derived from the Crown rather than conferred on them by Parliament. There is no codified parliamentary procedure that formally requires the Government to seek approval before taking military action. The Prime Minister and...

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A really useful inquiry

, 6 September 2013

Inquiry blight is a real danger. But, as the latest report from the Public Administration Select Committee, Truth to power: how Civil Service reform can succeed, argues, there is a lot wrong now and there are a wide range of questions about the future of Whitehall going well beyond existing proposals which should be...

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Learn from failure: the key lesson that Universal Credit should take from agile

, 5 September 2013

Introducing Universal Credit was always going to be a “courageous” undertaking. There were the technical and managerial challenges of simplifying complex benefits, together with large scale change to IT and working processes. Furthermore the project aims were also set very high – to change culture among benefit recipients while making sure the most vulnerable...

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