The recently released 'external contact' chart from the Cabinet Office provides a fascinating insight into the different roles played by Cabinet secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell and No.10 Permanent Secretary, Jeremy Heywood.
There is no obvious link between what governments do and the number of ministers. We now have more ministers than before devolution, even though large areas of domestic policy are now the responsibility of the executives in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
Bureaucrat bashing is, for many, an attractive and enjoyable blood sport. It is built into the DNA of certain parts of Fleet Street, providing easy targets as the hapless bureaucrats have no real means of defending themselves.
The Institute's latest report, Balancing Act, proposes a range of reforms to enhance parliament's role in the public appointments process, including a veto over appointment to and dismissal from 25 top posts.
Just over a year ago, the Institute published 'Shaping Up': a vision for the future of Whitehall. The Irish have drawn on it for their new programme of government - which offers an experiment in radical reform born out its crisis.