The Civil Service used to be a career for life. But it now it recognises that it both needs to give those it recruits young more flexibility, and be able to attract and retain talented people who started their career elsewhere – especially if it is going to fill gaps in commercial and digital skills. Jill Rutter highlights the issues.
On Wednesday 23 September, Sir Jeremy Heywood gave a rare and revealing insight in to his roles as Cabinet Secretary and Head of the UK Civil Service. Ashley Hibben reflects on some of the themes arising from Heywood’s discussion with Institute for Government Director Peter Riddell.
Women comprise the majority of today’s Civil Service. But that headline figure does not reflect the reality at the top of Whitehall. Catherine Haddon explores how the Civil Service has changed over time and argues that culture at the top is the key to diversity.
David Cameron recently set out the policy context for the public spending review under the theme of the ‘smarter state’. Prime Ministers invariably trot out such all-embracing phrases: remember the Big Society? Yet aside from the slogan, Peter Riddell asks, how does his argument stand up?
While the government’s continued focus on increasing efficiency savings is welcome, new figures showing the performance of the last Coalition government during its final year suggest a continuing need to avoid hyping up the presentation. Instead, transparency should be used to provide incentives to improve performance.
There is no point in pushing for more schools to become academies until the Government proves it can turn failing academies around, argues Tom Gash. He believes there are five questions DfE must now seek to answer.
In an article published today, Isabel Hardman reveals “there is considerable sympathy at Cabinet level for scrapping/merging departments in the spending review”.
Mergers could improve government’s efficiency and effectiveness - but Tom Gash argues that if we assume they will, they probably won’t.
For outgoing FCO Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Simon Fraser, the defining experience of the current era was the 2008 financial crash. After five turbulent years in post, and against a challenging backdrop of austerity, Fraser argues that the Foreign Office has achieved great things. It is leaner, more efficient and increasingly diverse. But with more austerity on the way, he warns his successor and ministers that they may have to reimagine how it operates if the UK is to retain its global network.
The Budget was the time to tell whether the Chancellor was serious about delivering the Conservative manifesto to the letter. The answer is no, but before anyone gets too excited he is certainly delivering the spirit of it.