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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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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