Ministerial involvement in civil service appointments

, 10 October 2012

In a speech at the Institute for Government on 2 October, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude set out his case for giving ministers a greater role in the appointment of permanent secretaries, in a week in which the mishandled West Coast rail franchise decision kept the issue of civil service accountability in the spotlight....

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Better training – what does the West Coast debacle tell us about commissioning skills?

, 4 October 2012

This summer, the Institute warned (again) that civil servants did not always feel well equipped to manage some of the complex contracting arrangements that are now central to many public services. In our report Commissioning for Success we noted that the problem was particularly acute in those departments who were relatively new to the...

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West Coast Mainline

, 3 October 2012

Of course, such incidents should not tarnish the whole Civil Service. There are many examples of high quality performance, improvement and commitment to reform across Whitehall, not least in the handling of the Olympics project by the Civil Service (to be discussed in a series of forthcoming Institute for Government events, and a report)....

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Evidenceballs

, 2 October 2012

The Blair government made much of its belief in evidence-based policy making. Yet as our report, Policy Making in the Real World showed, 12 years after the original Modernising Government report, both minister and civil servants recognised that learning from evaluation in particular remained a continuing area of relative weakness. Our new report, Evidence...

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Government outsourcing – too good to be true?

, 25 September 2012

The data presented in yesterday’s CBI report on public sector outsourcing is fascinating. On behalf of the CBI, Oxford Economics examined data from a number of government organisations and identified the rough proportions of expenditure on contracts in a range of public services. We find out, for example, that 48% of hospital security spending...

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The ideal mandarin: exhuming the dead generalist?

, 21 September 2012

What qualities does Letwin’s ideal mandarin need? “It’s not the double first in classics that matters it’s the attitude of mind that matters… it is important to… see that attitude of mind as one we want to celebrate… Unless the intellect is formed in a certain way… that person won’t be able to be...

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