The Civil Service has a crucial role in determining whether or not the next government will be set on the path to success or failure. Since 2010, it has delivered unprecedented reforms to public services and deep spending cuts to departmental budgets. The question is: can the Civil Service meet this challenge all over again in 2015?

Drawing on the Institute’s work on transformational change in Whitehall, Leading Change in the Civil Service finds that although the Civil Service has much to be proud of since 2010, the current trajectory of reform will be insufficient to prepare it for the challenge of supporting a new government through a second austerity spending review and beyond.

The report makes the case for make rethinking the corporate leadership of the Civil Service, so that it can plan for the future while delivering in the present.

It recommends that the senior leaders at the top of the Civil Service – the Cabinet Secretary, the Head of the Civil Service and the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury – establish themselves as a triumvirate providing corporate leadership for an agenda that they are strongly and personally committed to. The report also highlights the need for a sensible deal between ministers and officials that provides permission, protection and support for leaders in departments to plan ahead to 2015.

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