Ministers and Mandarins : The IPPR’s 2013 Review of the Senior Civil Service: A Commentary

 by Dave Richards and Martin J. Smith[1]

In penning this review of the IPPR’s newly published report on Accountability and Responsiveness in the Senior Civil Service: Lessons from Overseas we’d like to invoke the spirit of Frankie Howard by starting with ‘The Prologue’. Continue reading

The Politics of Spending Review 2013: The ‘Star Chamber’ Phantom Menace and Turf Wars

(This is the second of a series of comments I’ll be making addressing different aspects of SR2013 over the next few days)

SR 2013 has been agreed, we are told today. And some are claiming it was all settled amicably in the end (see Benedict Brogan at the Telegraph), without even having to convene the so-called “Star Chamber” to bring the last ‘hold-outs’ (Vince Cable, Theresa May and Phillip Hammond) to heal. Continue reading

The Politics of Spending Review 2013: Why Now, Why at all?

(This is the first of a series of comments I’ll be making addressing different aspects of SR2013 over the next few days)

It is striking that not a single political commentator has even asked the question: why is the Government tearing itself apart over a one-year Spending Review that doesn’t need to happen until next year, if at all. Continue reading

Ministers and Mandarins: Time for Change?

The IPPR report on “Accountability and Responsiveness in the Senior Civil Service: Lessons from Overseas” is a welcome contribution to a debate that has been bubbling away for some time now about the fundamental relationship between Ministers and Mandarins in Whitehall. I’m not going to go through the whole report, but just give my reaction to their main recommendations: Continue reading

How to reduce Government debt by almost a third, at no cost? Sounds mad? Read on..

If it hadn’t come from such a well respected source you’d immediately think this was bonkers. Lord Adair Turner, former head of the FSA, appearing on the BBC R4 World at One suggested a very simple but extraordinary move. But he did it in such an understated way that it seemed to pass by his interviewer. Continue reading

IPPR report on Minister:Mandarin relations is out – and open for comment here on WhitehallWatch

The Cabinet Office today published the IPPR Report on how senior civil servants are held to account, and their relationship to Ministers, from several other countries – with recommendations for change in the UK. You can also read IPPR Director Nick Pearce’s piece in today’s Times. (And if you want a rather different ‘take’ try this – Dominic Raab, Tory MP, in the Telegraph).

I’ll be making my own comments here shortly, but in the meantime I’m interested in comments from UK experts – civil servants, experts or politicians – the the proposals for changes here.

And I’m also interested to see if any of our international readers have comments on the Report’s ‘take’ on arrangements elsewhere.

If you want to comment anonymously (e.g. you are a UK civil servant) you can always email me and I’ll post for you – colin.talbot@manchester.ac.uk

 

Spending Review 2013: History Repeating?

As the Spending Review (26 June) draws closer, speculation is rife about whether or not, and how, George Osborne will achieve the extra £11.5 billion in savings from welfare and departmental spending in 2015-16 that he is said to want. So far only about £3.6bn has been agreed, and the rest is the subject of fierce fighting across Whitehall.

In this context I found this fascinating section in a book about the history of the UK Treasury: Continue reading