Thursday, 28 February 2013

A couple of notable absences, methinks...

Via Bob E from the BBC:

Viewpoints: The civil service and reform

Nick Herbert, former minister of policing and criminal justice:
"Whitehall Wars" makes for a good headline but a bad debate. I believe that the time has come to look again at our system of administration and consider the case for more radical reform...

Lord Bichard, former permanent secretary: Sadly the current debate about the civil service largely misses the point by focussing almost solely on the relationship between politicians and officials and whether it is at an all time low.

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union: The civil service, like any large organisation public or private, is constantly reforming and adapting to respond to new challenges. The current government has tasked the civil service with delivering a radical reform agenda with significantly fewer resources. Already at its smallest size since the Second World War, the civil service is still only just over halfway through the job reduction programme planned to 2015, with further cuts to come beyond this date.

Peter Riddell, director of the Institute for Government: At the Institute for Government we have identified serious inadequacies in Whitehall that need to be addressed by both ministers and the civil service.

Alan Downey, head of government and public sector at KPMG: There are some specific reasons for the latest breakdown: for example, it is clear that a 30% reduction in the number of senior civil servants has cut deep into Whitehall's capacity, capability and morale. Yet, the problems underlying the recent outbreak of verbal hostilities have been brewing for many years. The last government's relationship with Whitehall followed a similar pattern: after a honeymoon period ministers began to complain about obstructive behaviour and the difficulty of getting their policy intentions translated into practice.

Yup, the BBC didn't ask Timmy Taxpayer or Joan Public what they think of all this, and none of the quangocrats interviewed even mentions them.


The Stigler said...

Ministers have legitimate concerns about the quality of work for which they are held accountable, while civil servants often feel bruised by public and media criticism at a time of continuing sharp cutbacks and big re-organisations.

What "continuing sharp cutbacks"?

At best, we can describe the savings as sanding away at the edge of government.

Anyway, you can't reform these things. It doesn't work. The only way to reform government is to get it to do less and that means annihilating as many functions of government as possible (e.g. DCMS) and for what's left, simplifying the laws as much as possible.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, agreed. These people live in taxpayer funded cloud cuckoo land.

Bayard said...

You can't have some random member of the public on air; they may say something unexpected.