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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Who wants to be a senior civil servant?

, 10 September 2012

The Public Accounts Committee recently published its report ‘Managing early departures in central government’. The Institute agreed with many of the PAC conclusions – but the report has a solely technocratic view of the reality of managing reductions in staff numbers. Senior civil servants are people, not just bloodless lightning conductors, punchbags or beasts...

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Reshuffle: the verdict

, 5 September 2012

Reshuffles can achieve a number of objectives, but they rarely solve the government’s big problems, and carry risks of their own, as we discussed in our recent discussion paper Shuffling the Pack. One problem is that reshuffles can highlight a prime minister’s weakness as much as his power. For David Cameron, the main constraint...

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Paul Deighton’s challenge as a minister

, 5 September 2012

Paul Deighton is the latest in a distinguished line of GOATs brought in to provide business and delivery expertise for the Government. The future Lord Deighton — as he will become when he takes over in January from Lord Sassoon as unpaid Commercial Secretary to the Treasury — has had a very successful career...

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Putting airports policy into commission

, 4 September 2012

The track record is not promising. Previous attempts to use outsiders to solve planning dilemmas have not worked that well – Kate Barker’s review of the planning system failed to change much – and the government spent eight months wrangling over the new National Planning Policy Framework despite asking outsiders to produce the first...

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