The nearest (only?) parallel to the Sir Philip Rutnam affair was the sacking of Derek Lewis as Director General (DG) of the Prison Service in 1995.
This was another case of a Home Secretary and a senior Home Office civil servant falling out, and the latter ending up without a job.
The Prison Service (of England and Wales) was, back then, part of the Home Office. It has since moved to the Ministry of Justice.
Derek Lewis was brought in, an executive in Granada TV, by Ken Clarke, then Home Secretary. He was tasked with running the Prison Service which had newly been established as an ‘Executive Agency’ within the Home Office.
Continue reading “The Home Secretary allegedly pushes senior civil servant out of the Home Office – is there a parallel with an earlier Home Office crisis?”
My friend, mentor, critic and collaborator and great scholar Christopher Pollitt has died after a long illness. You will be hugely missed Christopher.
My thoughts go out to Hilkka and the extended family.
Christopher had a wonderfully dry sense of humour. When my wife Carole became pregnant with our son Alex (my first biological offspring), I emailed Christopher with the news. His response was typical: “don’t worry, the first 30 years is the worst”. Continue reading “Christopher Pollitt RIP”
by Colin R. Talbot and Carole L. Talbot University of Manchester
Originally published in a CIPFA/PMPA pamphlet here (April 2011). Some of the data may be slightly dated, but the thrust of the argument remains valid and even more topical as a fresh round of 10% local government cuts in 2015-16 has been announced.
Local government in England is faced with probably the biggest challenges it has had since at least the end of World War II, if not longer. Not only is it facing front-loaded cuts to its income of an unprecedented scale, but the demand for services, especially for the elderly, continue to rise and in many areas the return of mass unemployment, especially amongst young people, threatens new problems. Continue reading “Local Government Strategies in an Age of Austerity”
by Martin Smith (York University), Dave Richards and Patrick Diamond (both Manchester University)
There is little doubt that the previous Labour Administration and the current Coalition Government have discernibly different governing projects. Despite a rhetorical appeal to the contrary, Labour substantially increased both the size and role of the state, developing a new set of interventions in social policy and significantly increased government expenditure. The Coalition on the other hand has been focussed on reducing the role of the state, decreasing government expenditure and making cuts of over 50,000 in civil service numbers. Continue reading “Visions of Subsidiarity and the Curse of the British Political Tradition”
Lord O’Donnell, former head of the civil service, has put forward some ideas for better scrutiny of proposed government policies. According to a report in Civil Service World:
Among ideas to prevent “bad policies” from being introduced, [O’Donnell] said a new Office of Taxpayer Responsibility (OTR) should assess policies, requiring the government to specify their objectives and explain how success would be measured. Continue reading “Lord O’Donnell Suggests …. that someone rather like him should be put in charge of vetting government policy. Seriously?”
The #GreatWestCoastRailShambles has raised again the issue of the competence, or otherwise, of the Senior Civil Service.
Ministers are blaming the mess purely on civil servants, whilst others are pointing to a flawed policy. Without a lot more information, it’s hard to know how much of each was involved. But it certainly gives even more ‘edge’ to current project to re-examine the relationship between Ministers and Mandarins commissioned by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. The contract was awarded to IPPR, with me participating in the project (see here). Continue reading “Reforming the Senior Civil Service – what do you think?”
[President Obama] “took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have, and one that was essential to the task at hand. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government.” Mitt Romney in his acceptance speech.
I was struck by this largely ignored passage in Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech in Tampa for two reasons. Continue reading “Romney tells Secret Service detail to “go and get a real job” – well, not really but that’s what he implied…”