A Civil Service fit for the future


A fit-for-purpose Whitehall

Professor Sir Ivor Crewe DL, Master of University College, Oxford

Politicians used to respect the Civil Service. They looked upon it as a Rolls Royce machine that purred into action on ministerial instructions. This changed with Margaret Thatcher who railed against officials “who come to me with problems instead of solutions”. Tony Blair felt similarly: “fighting the forces of conservatism”, he complained, had “left scars on my back”…

Excellence in delivery

Lord Browne of Madingley, Lead Non-Executive Director, HM Government

The role of the Civil Service is evolving. It has a deserved reputation for excellence in policymaking, but that must now be matched with excellence in the delivery of policy. With that in mind, the Coalition Government made a number of important changes to the way in which Whitehall departments operate…

“All for one and one for all”

Sara Weller, Lead Non-Executive Director, Department for Communities and Local Governement

Running a Country, and running it well, is a Herculean task. Success takes perseverance and time, two things in short supply in politics…

Taking the long view…

Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive, CIPFA

Notwithstanding that for localists like me the greatest problem with Whitehall is that it does too much, as someone who has spent my career working with or belonging to the senior Civil Service, I am schizophrenic on Civil Service reform. John Gay’s famous satire of Walpole in The Beggar’s Opera, “How happy could I be either, were t’other dear charmer away” sums up the quandary…

So you want to reform the Civil Service

Professor Rod Rhodes, Preofessor of Government, University of Southampton

Reforms of the Civil Service proposed by both think tanks and governments over the past decade are pervaded by beliefs in evidence-based policymaking, business management, and choice by the users of public services. These ideas are the shared, almost tacit, knowledge of contributors to the continuing debate about public sector reform…