This open letter sets out the Institute for Government’s view of the challenges on civil service reform facing Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, and Sir Bob Kerslake, the Head of the Civil Service, as they begin their dual leadership.

Our analysis of the challenges and suggested ways ahead is based on the Institute’s work studying the problems facing government over the past three years – in particular the lessons learnt from our close engagement with decision makers in Whitehall. It also marks the start of a wider, public debate which the Institute is launching about reform of the Civil Service and improving the effectiveness of government.

The focus in the open letter is on Sir Jeremy and Sir Bob’s task now in strengthening the corporate and collective leadership and capabilities of the Civil Service. Our recommendations are about enabling the Civil Service to respond to the spending and reform challenges. We are positive about many of the developments that have occurred over the past decade that have improved the way the Civil Service operates. Within a smaller and reshaped state, a confident and effective Civil Service remains essential to the success of government.

An open letter: news release