Civil Service – getting on or getting out? (Guardian discussion)

Here’s the summary of my contributions to yesterday’s discussion on the Guardian Public Leaders Network.

The whole fast stream idea needs reviewing. It might have made sense when there were few graduates in the civil service, but today there are many more. In my experience a lot fast streamers rise without trace; its hard to point to what they’ve achieved because they never stay anywhere long enough to see things through.

Class is an issue in the senior civil service. I have always been struck, as someone from a working-class background, at just how class-dominated the senior civil service is. I’ve lost count at the number of times I’ve had Latin thrown at me. I guess I have strong antennae for it, but there is a very particular culture which I don’t find at the top of civil services in other countries, and I’ve been in quite a few.

A ‘those who can, teach’ style campaign to boost morale won’t work. Everyone understands that education is good for you. But few understand that government is good for you. The real debate is about how much government we should have – a bit more or a bit less, or a bit different – but much of the political rhetoric is couched in “government is bad for you” terms.

You can read all the summaries here.

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