Our verdict on the civil service reform plan

The Institute for Government’s experts have been working for three years to help improve the effectiveness of the Civil Service and government. Today we publish our verdict on the Civil Service Reform Plan. We use our seven tests, published earlier this month, to assess whether the plan has the potential measure up to the challenges the Civil Service faces.

IfG briefing paper: Our verdict on the plan

The Institute will be watching to see how this plan is implemented – for now we give an overview of the reform plan and our thoughts so far and rate the reforms using a traffic light ranking system, akin to the one used in the civil service capability plans, to show our view.

This is a promising plan that has most of the right ingredients for success - the plan has some bold ideas and addresses many of the key issues civil servants and ministers want to see sorted out, but it is early days and there are plenty of questions that will need answering before we can hail this as a success.

‘The success of this plan depends on the consistency, coherence and energy of implementation’ – Peter Riddell, Director of the Institute for Government.

Peter Riddell, Director of the Institute for Government said:

“The Civil Service Reform Plan is a promising step forward. It includes some bold ideas and offers the potential of achieving much needed improvements. But all depends on the consistency, coherence and energy of implementation. The close involvement of Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office Minister, and other senior ministers in its creation along with civil service leaders is a positive sign that the political will exists to push through reforms. David Cameron himself will need to take a public lead here too.

“The plan addresses the mains concerns facing all civil servants, and not just the minority in Whitehall, and provides a clear direction on the role of a civil service which will be a quarter smaller by 2015. There are welcome suggestions, in line with Institute for Government’s report, on improving the policymaking process, and strengthening management information. There are also some positive ideas for improving the accountability of the executive to Parliament.”