Lifting the veil

, 22 July 2013

The pilot edition of the Civil Service Quarterly appeared last week on It is a compilation of blogs on issues covering range of government activity – from disaster management, to the new policy tests in the Department for Education, an interview by former FT editor and CBI head Sir Richard Lambert with Treasury...

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We need to talk about markets

, 19 July 2013

Last week, it was revealed that two private security firms – G4S and Serco – have potentially overcharged taxpayers by up to £50 million on electronic monitoring contracts. In some cases, bills may have been charged for the tagging of offenders who had died, were in prison, had left the country – or for...

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Commission impossible? Government should slow the creation of public service markets to avoid costly mistakes

, 18 July 2013

The report shows weaknesses in government’s ability to design and manage effective markets in public service provision, following examinations of the Work Programme, social care for older people, probation commissioning and the emerging ‘quasi market’ in secondary education. We argue that there needs to be genuine competition for public service markets to work. Users...

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Whitehall – a breakdown of confidence or a breakdown of competence?

, 16 July 2013

The rumblings The press is full of questions about the accountability and competence of the senior civil service. Francis Maude, amongst others, has spoken critically of the Civil Service and recognised that the 2012 white paper has not led to transformative change. Of course, the professional defenders of the Civil Service point to its...

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DIPs – worthy successors to Capability Reviews?

, 15 July 2013

Action 16 in the Civil Service Reform Plan heralded the end of Capability Reviews and introduced Departmental Improvement Plans (or DIPs) as their successor. The reform plan committed to two departments piloting DIPs before they are rolled out across the board in 2014. Just ahead of the ‘one year on’ review of progress, not...

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Civil service reform: one year on

, 10 July 2013

They are upfront about what has gone less well: “we were too slow to mobilise… we did not identify clear leadership or adequate resources for the actions… it is vital to accelerate the programme of Civil Service Reform” There has been valuable progress on some important elements of the reform plan. Some ideas that...

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