Analysis & Opinion

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What can civil servants expect from Michael Barber's Whitehall efficiency review?

8 March 2017

The Treasury announced this week that Sir Michael Barber – former head of the Blair-era Prime Minister's Delivery Unit – will be heading up the latest in a long line of reviews of civil service efficiency. Adrian Brown, who has worked closely with Barber, spells out what Whitehall can expect.

Why the UK needs a better process for appointing national security advisers

3 March 2017

With the appointment of Mark Sedwill, Britain is now on its fourth national security adviser since 2010. Dr Joe Devanny asks whether such churn at the top really makes for effective government

Oliver Letwin's attacks on civil servants show an ex-minister divorced from the reality of what they do

2 March 2017

FDA general secretary Dave Penman takes the former Cabinet Office minister to task after he said civil servants in line departments rely too heavily on jargon and management skills to get by

"Crisis, cash, repeat" is no way to run public services – the Treasury must explain its spending decisions

28 February 2017

Without publishing the rationale for its spending decisions, the government risks being bounced from crisis to crisis, unable to restore the public finances or ensure quality

Why it's time to transform the relationships between departments and arm's-length bodies

27 February 2017

Lesley Ann Nash, the Cabinet Office's director for public bodies reform, explains how the government's new code is aiming to shift relationships between departments and arm’s-length bodies away from compliance and control towards a proportionate, risk-based partnership model

Greg Hobbs: How the civil service's Fast Track apprenticeship scheme is opening doors

22 February 2017

As the civil service Fast Track apprenticeship programme opens for a new round of applications, the Cabinet Office's deputy director of early talent Greg Hobbs explains how the scheme can offer a springboard into a variety of government careers – and introduces two apprentices who've benefited from it

Why the Civil Service Workforce Plan doesn't go far enough

17 February 2017

Most of the challenges the Workforce Plan purports to tackle are ones that Whitehall has bumped up against for decades. Perhaps it's time to start interrogating the civil service's Victorian structures – rather than simply adding layers of reform on top, argues Andrew Greenway

FDA chief Dave Penman: Lessons from Trump’s America

16 February 2017

The US is giving us an ongoing education in the importance of an impartial civil service, argues the FDA union's general secretary 

Risky business: what's it like being the Government Actuary?

14 February 2017

From pensions to student loans, actuaries play a vital role in analysis risk right across government. Here, the government actuary explains his work

Tom Gash of the Institute for Government: An end to bungled private sector deals?

10 February 2017

Proper management of outsourced services is the only way to avoid the contracting fiascos of recent years, argues the IfG's Tom Gash

Automation could free up talented public servants to focus on what they do best

6 February 2017

Automation will need to be handled with sensitivity by managers – but any upgrade in public services must start with the workforce, argues Alexander Hitchcock of the Reform think tank

Trump inauguration: presidential transitions and intra-administration tensions

20 January 2017

As Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, Kings College London research fellow Joe Devanny looks at the tensions that arise between administrations and considers parallels with Whitehall