For over two centuries the British Prime Minister has governed the country from 10 Downing Street. But there is remarkably little consensus about how the engine room of British government should be organised. Every recent occupant has reorganised and restructured Number 10 at least once, with the most recent change David Cameron being a shift back to a policy unit headed by a political appointee.

On 9 April the Institute for Government is hosting a discussion on how Downing Street has operated under the past four prime ministers, and how it needs to evolve to meet today’s demands.

Our speakers include:

  • Sir Alex Allan, Principal Private Secretary to John Major
  • Baroness Sally Morgan, Director of Government Relations at Number 10 under Tony Blair
  • Patrick Diamond, Senior Policy Adviser at Number 10 under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown
  • Fraser Nelson, Editor, The Spectator.

In advance of this event, we asked our panellists to comment briefly on one aspect of how Downing Street works. In a short briefing paper (below), we present their responses as well as commentary from the Institute for Government itself, drawing on our past work on a number of related issues.