The lost world of royal commissions

The conventional view has been, in the famous words of Harold Wilson, that they “take minutes and waste years” (Wilson set up no fewer than 10 during his two periods as Prime Minister). They are seen as diversions, attempts to defer difficult issues, particularly if the commission is not intended to report until after...

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Be careful what you review

, 19 June 2013

There are three interlinked questions: what, how and who? The what is central. What would an inquiry tells us that we don’t already know and how would it/could it improve on existing reform efforts? The pragmatic view of the Maude/Heywood/Kerslake axis is that it is far better to get on with the existing, only...

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IPPR report addresses important issues of accountability

, 17 June 2013

The IPPR report offers the chance for a more reasoned debate by setting out in detail experience from overseas and allaying some of the fears over politicization. Its aim is explicitly ‘to make the Civil Service more accountable, more effective and more responsive, while at the same time preserving its political neutrality…. and a...

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There’s partnership working…and then there’s data sharing!

, 13 June 2013

Has data sharing become the Health and Safety of the modern era? Schools, employers and youth organisations were reporting virtual paralysis because health and safety legislation prevented people from doing almost everything – or so we were led to believe. Now it is the Data Protection Act that is apparently the problem. Of course,...

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Revolution in a teacup? Why ministers should choose permanent secretaries

, 11 June 2013

Our proposals, which are based on analysis of all the literature, including that available to the CSC; extensive interviews with those involved including current and past Chairs of the CSC; the available quantitative evidence; and experience from other countries, are well thought through, and have the benefit of an evidence base. Ministers of all...

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5 days – or longer – in May 2015

, 30 May 2013

No one has the faintest idea what the election result will be in 2015 but we could easily have another hung parliament – and the experience of 2010 will influence the expectations and behaviour of politicians, the media and the markets. Andrew Adonis, a Labour negotiator in 2010, has always maintained that a Lab/Lib...

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