Lord O’Donnell Suggests …. that someone rather like him should be put in charge of vetting government policy. Seriously?

Lord O’Donnell, former head of the civil service, has put forward some ideas for better scrutiny of proposed government policies. According to a report in Civil Service World:

Among ideas to prevent “bad policies” from being introduced, [O’Donnell] said a new Office of Taxpayer Responsibility (OTR) should assess policies, requiring the government to specify their objectives and explain how success would be measured. Continue reading

PASC Takes PM to Task Over Ministerial Inquiries.

It’s couched in polite terms, but today the Public Administration Select Committee issued what amounted to a bruising attack on PM David Cameron.

The PASC said the PM was wrong to ask the Cabinet Secretary to investigate the Andrew Mitchell ‘plebgate’ affair, wrong for not to using the Independent Advisor on Ministers’ Interests instead, and wrong for ignoring a previous report of the PASC and resolution passed by the Commons.

For a Government supposedly committed to openness, transparency, accountability and taking Parliament more seriously, this is a pretty devastating critique. Continue reading

Top Twenty Whitehall Watch blog posts

Here’s the top twenty Whitehall Watch blog posts (so far) and the number of views. This doesn’t include numbers for posts that have been republished by Public Finance, Public Servant, LSE Policy and Politics and the Huffington Post. Continue reading

policy@manchester launches

Public policy community comes together

12 Jul 2012

The University of Manchester has established Policy@Manchester as a network bringing together a range of academics working in a variety of public policy areas. Continue reading

The Public Government of Public Money – not yet, not by a long way

 

Three decades ago two American academics published a superb analysis of the way in which British government’s made finance decisions provocatively entitled “The Private Government of Public Money” (Heclo and Wildavsky, 1981). Has the Coalition accidentally given birth to the ‘Public Government of Public Money?’ Continue reading

Is the Civil Service Accountable to Parliament? Hodge vs O’Donnell spat opens a can of worms.

Is the Civil Service accountable to parliament?

Margaret Hodge MP, the formidable chair of the powerful Public Accounts Committee of Parliament says “yes”. Sir (now Lord) Gus O’Donnell and other ex-Mandarins say firmly “no”. (For details see the Guardian website here). Ironically, emerging in the week that Norman St John-Stevas (Baron St John of Fawsley) died, this dispute dates back to the introduction of the modern Select Committee system he initiated back in the early 1980s. Continue reading

The Riots: It may be the Under-Class that did it, but it’s the Uber-Class that lost it

So, the riots have come. They had an almost inevitable quality to them – indeed last December I outlined one scenario for when they would happen (see The Great Train Wreck of 2013). Continue reading