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The Civil Service in Territorial Perspective: A data-driven analysis of Whitehall and the devolved administrations

This report examines the UK civil service from a territorial perspective.

This report is the first publication in our Governing After the Referendum programme of work, and is a collaboration with the Institute’s Whitehall Monitor. In it we examine the UK civil service from a territorial perspective and illustrate the capacity and characteristics of civil service presence in each part of the UK.

As Scotland decides upon its constitutional future and as proposals for further devolution to each of the devolved nations are discussed, our analysis is designed to inform debate about and preparations for any future changes to the balance of power between Westminster and the administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. We examine the territorial spread of UK Government departments both in terms of programme spending and personnel, and also demonstrate the changing balance between devolved and reserved civil servants in Scotland over time. Our research is based on data produced by the UK, Welsh and Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Overall, our paper illustrates the complex nature of the relationship between Whitehall and the different parts of the UK. We have also compared the scale and composition of civil service capacity in each part of the UK, and highlighted some differences between the UK and devolved governments in terms of composition and attitudes. In the next phase of our research we will consider whether and how the data we have presented has implications how the different governments relate to and interact with each other.

Institute for Government

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