Ministers and mandarins: a new relationship


If government doesn’t work, whose fault is it?

Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Member of Parliament for Ashford

The apparently eternal battle between politicians and bureaucrats for control of the government machine has been better for TV comedy writers than for the governance of Britain…

Making ministers more effective

Hon Bernard Jenkin MP, Chairman, Public Administration Select Committee

When the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) reported on Smaller government: what ministers do, we found they often take too many relatively minor decisions and are engaged in activities that could be delegated to others, instead of focusing on providing leadership and setting the overall policy of their departments…

Civil Service, ministers and Parliament

Rt Hon Lord Turnbull KCB CVO, former Cabinet Secretary

The Civil Service has faced a chorus of criticism from ministers, Parliament and the media. There have been accusations that civil servants have been blocking ministers’ wishes. There have been veiled, and not so veiled, threats by ministers – “if you don’t deliver your side of the bargain, we will appoint our own people who will”…

“To govern men”

Huw Evans, Director of Policy, Deputy Director General, Association of British Insurers

The difficulties of ministerial leadership are nothing new. As far back as the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson was reflecting that “to govern men…is a painful and thankless office”. But for ministers in 21st century Whitehall, these difficulties must feel particularly acute with power both diffused (by devolution) and shared with the EU, local government and quangos…