Transforming the civil service

Background

The deficit reduction plan has resulted in plans for an unprecedented reduction in civil service budgets. And the Coalition’s ambitions for localism, transparency, outcome based commissioning and mutuals add to the pressure for change.

In 2011 we worked with a group of Permanent Secretaries and Director Generals for 8 months to help them think about what reforms are needed if the Civil Service is to emerge confident and fit for purpose from this period of change. 

Civil Service Reform Plan

In June 2012 the new leaders of the Civil Service, Sir Jeremy and Sir Bob, and the Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude published their Civil Service Reform Plan – launching it at the IfG.

We produced seven tests to allow us to judge whether it was a good plan. Our verdict was that it was a promising start, with some bold ideas. But there are tough challenges if they are to make the progress that is needed. It will be important to apply the lessons from past civil service reforms. We will continue to track progress and provide challenge to senior leaders as the plan develops and the key actions are implemented.

Work Programme

Unsurprisingly the Civil Service Reform Plan addresses a number of core areas of the IfG’s work:

The Institute is working with politicians and civil servants to help them lead this transformation successfully. We are doing this in six ways:

  1. in depth research on specific areas
  2. working with officials and politicians to test and challenge some of the reform ideas as they are being developed and implemented
  3. action research into some of the biggest departmental transformations
  4. fact based commentary on the civil service
  5. tailored learning and development programmes
  6. seminars and workshops with international experts and practitioners.

We are currently at the scoping stage of two major projects: