Guest blog: civil service reform

, 27 June 2012

Labour will support and indeed welcome sensible reforms such as improving management culture, information systems and skills development, but the point of reform after all is to make something better than it was before and until we see more detail it is not clear how far these reforms will move us forward. Let’s be...

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Lessons from Royal Bank of Scotland’s IT meltdown

, 26 June 2012

First, relax – it’s not only government that experiences IT problems and, indeed, the fact that government keeps big, complex, legacy systems running in areas such as taxes and benefits is in itself quite an achievement. Second, IT matters. When things go wrong with big systems, people’s lives are affected: and when things go...

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Not so special? Why we need a more thought out approach to special advisers

, 22 June 2012

SpAds hold an anomalous position in government departments, between their minister and the civil service. Their roles can be very demanding and crucial as a buffer against the politicisation of the civil service. They play a vital part in the functioning of modern government. But they don’t have any management structure as most employees...

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Can the Civil Service make interchange with business happen this time?

, 22 June 2012

“It never really works, does it? Whatever they say, leaving is always bad for your career”. The wise words of former cabinet secretary Lord Butler to me at a party after I had returned to the civil service after a stint of six years working at BP – which I had naively thought might...

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Guest blog: Why ministers should listen to those who know how

, 15 June 2012

The IfG has posed the over-arching question of what the Civil Service is for and talks about the importance of positive reasons to change beyond the immediate pressures of cost savings. This is quite right in principle, but in practice, the experience of our 34,000 members in the Civil Service and its agencies over...

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Lessons from a land down under…

, 13 June 2012

For starters, Moran explained, the Australian economy is doing really rather well – at least on conventional measures – with growth of 4%+ and a looming budget surplus. Nonetheless, the population was still grumpy and distrustful of its politicians and official policy makers, despite a deep and enduring attachment to state solutions. First, the...

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