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

Targets? What targets? Change and Continuity in the performance regime in Whitehall

We were told, when the new Coalition Government came to be, that it would put an end to “New Labour targetry”. The use of targets for public sector performance had become a bête noir of both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Opposition and they apparently couldn’t wait to scrap the whole lot once they were in power.

And indeed they did immediately scrap the Public Service Agreements (30) and Departmental Strategic Objectives (95 for the Departments we have counted).

But for the past two decades I have had this annoying habit – I don’t believe Governments, especially about these sorts of things. So I have done what I usually do and gone and counted. And the answers are surprising, even to me. 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 Civil Service Reform Plan – Mostly Old Wine in Very Old, but relabelled, Bottles.

The Civil Service Reform Plan announced yesterday mostly rehashes old solutions, some sensible, others of dubious worth – but mostly renames stuff and proclaims it as if it was ‘new’. The cry of ‘cultural change’, for example, towards greater managerial responsibility and accountability has been repeated in Whitehall at least since Rayner and FMI, if not Fulton. If it still hasn’t happened after 5 decades (depending on where you count from) it raises rather fundamental issues, surely? Continue reading

Lies, Damned Lies, and Government ‘Efficiency’ Savings (Again)

It is nice to see that the new lot are just the same as the old lot, at least when it comes to reporting so-called “efficiency” or “waste” savings. Today Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude was telling anyone who would listen that the Government anticipates £5 billion in cash savings this year.

Despite the spin, these are of course not efficiency savings and the official documents are careful to just refer to them as “cash savings” and “waste” – which anyone would be justified in thinking meant ‘efficiency’ savings. And indeed it all comes under the programme called “Efficiency” on the Cabinet Office website. Continue reading

The Budget and Public Services: it really is worse than we thought

Spending on public services is set to reduce by 25% in real terms by 2014-15 (apart from Health and International Development). One quarter of all other public services could go – that is the equivalent of around a fifth of all public sector staff or well over a million jobs. Continue reading