A perm sec named Sue

, 4 September 2013

It is hardly a surprise that the new appointee to DCMS is a woman – after almost two years at the top of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake and Sir Jeremy Heywood had failed to promote a single woman to permanent secretary – and had faced a mini-exodus of their predecessor’s much trumpeted...

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Revising the Osmotherly Rules: a cure for ailing accountability?

, 4 September 2013

One part of the government’s civil service reform agenda that has received scant attention is the proposed revision of the Osmotherly Rules – the Government’s guidance on civil servants’ relationship with select committees. As the new Institute for Government paper Civil Service Accountability to Parliament concludes, revising this document – and the conventions summarised...

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Government needs to step up its response to the information age

, 3 September 2013

As a former consultant, I’m always somewhat sceptical of the ‘by doing X, Government could save £ billions’ type of pronouncements.* But, much of the underlying analysis in Policy Exchange’s new Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger report on digital government will strike a chord with those familiar with this territory, and these are arguments worth...

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Future directions for the Accounting Officer system

, 3 September 2013

Earlier this year the Major Projects Authority gave 31 out of 191 government projects an Amber/Red or Red rating, signalling that there are problems with implementation. Yet all of these projects have had the implicit endorsement of the permanent secretary of the department responsible as being both good value for money and feasible –...

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The making of Whitehall Monitor

, 29 August 2013

What is Whitehall Monitor? A year ago we embarked on a project to explore and analyse the data on government to get insights into the effectiveness of Whitehall. We’d previously put out short ad hoc Whitehall Monitor bulletins, but we wanted to expand this into a more comprehensive review of the information about Whitehall’s...

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The calculus of consent: what drives local opposition to fracking?

, 15 August 2013

The village of Balcombe (West Sussex) has recently become a national focal point for the campaign against fracking. When a private company attempted to start exploration in a site just outside the village, residents and environmental campaigners from further afield descended on the site to block the enterprise. The company insisted it was using...

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