Government outsourcing – too good to be true?

, 25 September 2012

The data presented in yesterday’s CBI report on public sector outsourcing is fascinating. On behalf of the CBI, Oxford Economics examined data from a number of government organisations and identified the rough proportions of expenditure on contracts in a range of public services. We find out, for example, that 48% of hospital security spending...

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The ideal mandarin: exhuming the dead generalist?

, 21 September 2012

What qualities does Letwin’s ideal mandarin need? “It’s not the double first in classics that matters it’s the attitude of mind that matters… it is important to… see that attitude of mind as one we want to celebrate… Unless the intellect is formed in a certain way… that person won’t be able to be...

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Guest blog: Why mandarins matter – a response

, 19 September 2012

The Minister again rejected suggestion that the Government should consider whether there should be “a stronger, perhaps constitutional, role for the Civil Service in promoting the long-term national interest, to help counteract the negative, short-term pressures on Ministers.” He then said: “the civil service is not called upon to formulate political programmes or to...

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Improving accountability— an urgent search without easy solutions

, 17 September 2012

The Government is right to look overseas for ideas on alternative structures of ministerial/civil service relations. There is a strong case for strengthening accountability, both within Whitehall and with Parliament. But the new review, to be conducted by outsiders, is likely to find that, while there are intriguing lessons from abroad, there are no...

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Understanding David Cameron’s (and Nick Clegg’s) women problem

, 14 September 2012

A striking result of the reshuffle is the gap in the middle of the ministerial hierarchy. With the exception of the demoted Baroness Warsi, there is not one other woman at minister of state level. This leaves little chance to improve the balance in a hypothetical 2015 cabinet, as neither party leader will have...

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The Coalition after the reshuffle

, 13 September 2012

What do personnel changes tell us about political undercurrents? Often what we already know. Thus with Lords reform and the boundary review kicked into the long grass, it is unsurprising that Mark Harper has not been replaced as Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, and his duties are instead being taken on part-time by...

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