A data-driven analysis of the size, shape and performance of Whitehall

The Whitehall Monitor 2014 (PDF) aims to chart government – using data to analyse the size, shape and performance of Whitehall and present it in an understandable, compelling and useful way.

It uses open data published by government, Parliament and a few other sources to look at everything from how big each government department’s budget is and how many staff it employs to how much legislation it has been responsible for and how many written parliamentary questions it has answered on time.

This year’s Whitehall Monitor annual report tells three stories:

  • What government looks like in the UK in 2014: The key word is variety – government departments differ in terms of their scale, what they do and how they do it
  • How government has changed since 2010: Whitehall has achieved unprecedented spending reductions since 2010, while taking forward radical ministerial programmes, and cut staff by almost 20%, without a collapse in morale
  • How transparent government is: Government has improved the way it publishes and uses some of its data over the past year, and its transparency allows us to build up a better picture than ever before. But concerns remain, including financial transparency in explaining changes between planned spending and actual outturn, and in presenting a comprehensive picture of government contracting.

The Whitehall Monitor 2014 also highlights some of the pressures government will face after the May 2015 General Election:

  • The Government needs greater insight and tighter controls to ensure the sustainability of spending cuts
  • The Civil Service needs to change how it works if it is going to cope with the further cuts it faces
  • Departments need more stable leadership
  • Whitehall needs to continue raising its skills to successfully deliver government reforms
  • Politicians need to convince the public that they can run government effectively.

This is the second Whitehall Monitor annual report (the first was published in August 2013). We also publish more frequent analysis as and when data is issued on the Institute for Government blog and the Whitehall Monitor website (where you can also find the underlying data).

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