The Civil Service in the devolved nations

, 14 June 2016

Five UK Secretaries of State have more civil servants at their disposal than any of the First Ministers of the devolved nations. The Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) employs 23,486 civil servants, the Scottish Government 15,960 and the Welsh Government 5,290. (The Welsh and Scottish Governments are counted as part of the Home Civil...

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Budgets in the devolved nations

, 13 June 2016

Five Whitehall departments have bigger budgets than all the devolved administrations… The newly formed devolved governments will receive an overall envelope for spending determined primarily on the basis of the Barnett Formula. To put these envelopes in perspective, the administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for spending larger budgets (£16bn and £20bn...

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Cock-up, not conspiracy, conceals evidence for policy

, 9 June 2016

Missing Evidence, published this month, reviews how much government-commissioned research is publicly available. Sir Stephen went in suspecting conspiracy – and, surprising no-one who has worked inside government, found cock-up. A few high-profile cases of delayed publication suggested there might be a deliberate strategy within government to suppress externally commissioned research. Indeed, there were some cases...

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Government acts on contract transparency

, 7 June 2016

The updated Model Services Contract, published at the end of May, contains a new transparency clause, to enable the publishing of public service contracts and of contract performance data. This matters because we have continued to see a number of high-profile problems that have brought into question the Government’s ability to manage public service...

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Sustainability and Transformation Plans: another NHS reorganisation?

, 3 June 2016

Earlier this year, new structures were announced to oversee health care in 44 areas of England. On 19 May, the NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, said that these structures needed a firmer footing, implying that legislation would be needed. The new structures could create a more coherent approach to health in local areas, with...

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Northern Ireland’s first official Opposition – a step towards ‘normal politics’?

, 31 May 2016

The Northern Ireland Assembly’s official Opposition, formed by the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), will be the first of its kind since the Assembly was established in 1998 (see chart). Thanks to recent legislative changes, parties with nine or more elected members can now form an official...

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