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BBC Radio 4 ‘Shape Up Sir Humphrey’ Part Two - 15.03.07



Please credit all quotes to BBC Radio 4 “Shape Up, Sir Humphrey
(audio) David Bell

One Permanent Secretary said to me ‘make sure on a reshuffle that you’re the first person the Secretary of State meets when they walk through the door of your department.’ That gets the relationship off to a very, very effective start.


Anne Perkins

David Bell is the energetic Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education. Six months after he started the job, there was a Cabinet reshuffle. Ruth Kelly was out, Alan Johnson was in.


(audio)David Bell

We’re watching the monitors all the time, so we quickly clocked that our new Secretary of State was going to be Alan Johnson, and with a bit of very good planning we were all able to work out when his car was arriving to drop him at the door. And there I was at the door to meet him and to welcome him to the department.


(audio)

Anne Perkins

Did he come straight from Downing Street, I mean, it doesn’t give you very long does it?
David Bell

It doesn’t give you a lot of time at all and that’s why we had to be quick of foot.


Anne Perkins

It’s a very brutal process, the reshuffle, isn’t it? Presumably Ruth Kelly’s family photographs were still on the desk when Alan Johnson arrived?


David Bell

Well, even there we were very efficient. We had cleared all of those off and sent them off to Ruth Kelly’s new department so that the Secretary of State had a clean desk.


Anne Perkins

The relationship between a department’s top civil servant, its Permanent Secretary, and their less permanent Secretary of State is the lynchpin of government. If it doesn’t work, nor will the department. But there’s no job description, not quite chairman and chief executive, more of a contact sport, one former Permanent Secretary told us. In this programme we explore this ‘arranged marriage’, ask whether ministers’ Special Advisors are the grit in the oyster or just the grit, and we ask the big question, who takes the blame when something goes wrong? Charles Clarke has been Education Secretary and Home Secretary.


(audio)

Charles Clarke

I think it’s a role of a partnership. Candour and loyalty is critically important in that.
Anne Perkins

Charles Clarke has endured his own mismatched relationship and he’s watched the struggle of colleagues like Pat Hewitt at the Department of Health. Her Permanent Secretary, Nigel Crisp, departed abruptly last year.


( audio)

Charles Clarke

If you look at those relationships across this Government, there has been a very varied record between relationships which have been outstandingly effective, and relationships which have almost brought their department down. And if you are going to reform, for example, the Health Service, you need to have a Secretary of State and a Permanent Secretary both committed to that reform and keen to carry that through in an effective way.
Anne Perkins

Commitment or partisanship? Impartial advice or obstruction? Whitehall’s full of subtle calls. Civil servants have to judge how far to take the duty described with a quaint Victorian dignity as ‘speaking truth under power’. Mike Granatt, a former Head of Government Communications, thinks it’s become very hard to tell ministers things they don’t want to hear.


(audio)

Michael Grannatt

The pressures are very high and I think that takes you to what’s been called a ‘climate of fear’. I think the Civil Service is in danger of politicisation, not because they will act politically, but because they are being badgered into acting in a way that appears to be political. When you move from a civil service, which was relatively fearless in offering unwelcome advice and telling people about options that might not be palatable but were necessary to describe, to one where people just deliver what they think ministers want to hear, you have, to my mind, moved de facto into the realm of politicisation.

Anne Perkins


This is a grave charge. Impartiality is a corner stone of the system. It explains why successive Cabinet Secretaries, though the not the current one, nor his immediate predecessor, have argued for legislation to define and protect civil servants independence - something the Government promised, but now seems to have forgotten. So the image lingers, allowing old hands like the former Conservative Chancellor, Ken Clarke, to make political capital.
(audio)

Ken Clarke

My understanding is that the current practice under New Labour is that officials who disagree with their ministers or offer advice that is out of line with ministers’ inclinations are unlikely to attend many meetings.
Anne Perkins

It’s a hard claim to test. One person’s politicisation is another’s can do approach. Certainly up and coming Permanent Secretaries, like David Bell, brought in from the Schools Inspectorate, scoff at the idea of a ‘culture of fear’.


(audio) David Bell

I’ve been clear with the two Secretaries of State that I’ve worked with, that I am no use to them if I always agree with them. There’s often a perception outside that all politicians just want ‘yes men and women’ around them. In a funny sort of way, sometimes ministers will say ‘I just wish people would challenge me more’.


(audio) Dame Sue Street

I think it can be the case that civil servants are fearful of telling ministers that what they wanted is not going to be possible.


Anne Perkins

Dame Sue Street, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Culture until last year, was at the Home Office in charge of youth justice, when she realised they weren’t going to make one of Labour’s 1997 pledges. Against some colleagues’ advice, she warned the Home Secretary, Jack Straw.


(audio) Dame Sue Street

It was considered brave. After all this was a pledge and I had responsibility for delivering it so of course people thought there might be retribution, but it didn’t seem to me brave. It seemed to me honest and that’s what you do.


Anne Perkins

In these days of constant criticism, it can only have got harder to admit there’s a problem. There are rumours of real morale problems at the Home Office, but the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, denies suggestions of bullying or a culture of blame.


(audio) Sir Gus O’Donnell

It was the Home Secretary himself, who asked for any problems there are in the department to be brought forward so I think that’s implying a rather wimpish attitude of Home Office Civil Servants. I think they’re perfectly able to stand up and say what they think is happening and the truth is, as you turn over lots of stones to build something new for the future, you find problems and they have found a number of problems.


Anne Perkins

The new generation of top civil servants is unfailingly courteous about its political masters. Permanent Secretaries are keen to debunk what they say are myths about the ‘climate of fear’ or another favourite, problem Special Advisors. But Martin Narey, former Head of Prisons and the Probation Service, like others who’ve left the civil service,is more outspoken. He says special advisers can be gooseberries in the very personal relationship between civil servants and their secretary of state:


(audio) Martin Narey

I think there’s been a factor in the advice of the Permanent Secretary and senior Civil Servants in a department perhaps being undermined more than was a few years ago, through the greater prevalence of Special Advisors. I think that’s undermined that working relationship between Secretaries of State and Permanent Secretaries.


Anne Perkins

He now runs the Children’s Charity, Barnardo’s, in what he plainly finds an uncomplicated relationship with his chairman.


(audio) Martin Narey

I am very close to my Chair; we have an understanding about the strategic direction of Barnardo’s. I don’t think that understanding has always been there in my experience between Secretaries of State and Permanent Secretaries and sometimes I think that’s been because of the greater role of a Special Advisor.


Anne Perkins

But Martin Narey’s former political master, David Blunkett, ridicules his criticism.


(audio) David Blunkett

I think the fear that a handful, at the moment between two and four advisors, is some sort of barrier between ministers and the Civil Service, I just think that is fairyland.


Anne Perkins

David Blunkett is more outspoken about his view of the shortcomings of the Civil Service than most former ministers, but he articulates a perception of a kind of institutional inadequacy that is echoed privately by others. Special Advisors, he says, are essential compensation, a source of ideas that are both politically literate and grounded in real experience. He’d like many more and thinks every member of a ministerial team needs at least one.


(audio) David Blunkett

I think ministers each having their own Special Advisor, the Cabinet member having half a dozen key people, with very specific roles, not being able to order civil servants about but work with them, I think that would be a really positive game.


Anne Perkins

Civil servants have come to appreciate the protection from the political that a special adviser offers. But they fear a Blunkett-style cabinet of outsiders could only undermine confidence. Richard Mottram, now security coordinator in the cabinet office, was permanent secretary at the department of transport when the special adviser relationship went disastrously wrong after Jo Moore proposed that 9/11 was a good day for ‘burying bad news’.


(audio) Sir Richard Mottram

A key to it all is to have a relationship of trust and openness between all the people playing. The most dangerous version of this is for ministers to think they can rely only on Special Advisors, for Special Advisors to have a rather separate existence from civil servants and for then, for the civil servants, to be nervous about, do they know what’s in the minister’s mind, do they have access to the ministry etcetera. Far from my wishing to push Special Advisors to one side, what I want them to do is to play a part in a process which is open between all the players.


Anne Perkins

Mistrust isn’t confined to politicians, sometimes it’s been reciprocated. In 2005 the Home Office moved to its new headquarters, all windows and open plan offices, but there are a few doors and one lay between Robert Hill, Special Advisor and his boss, Charles Clarke.


(audio) Charles Clarke

The Permanent Secretary thought there shouldn’t be a direct door between the Secretary of State’s office and the Special Advisor.


(audio) Robert Hill

They said we’re really not very happy about you using that door, we’d like to see you coming and going into the Secretary of State’s office, if you don’t mind we are going to make arrangements to lock that door. But I think in a way it’s symbolic of the slight frisson or ambiguity that they felt in the relationship towards Special Advisors.


(audio) Charles Clarke

It became a great source of humour.


Anne Perkins

The then Permanent Secretary, John Gieve, has been succeeded by David Normington.


(audio) Sir David Normington

The door is open. I’d never play those sorts of games. Ministers need their Special Advisors and they need them close. I’ve never, never, never sought to put locked doors between them and their advisors.


Anne Perkins

David Blunkett rarely concealed his low opinion of some civil servants. He once described the then Cabinet Secretary, Richard Wilson, as being unhelpful just by being himself. Word of one particular outburst in front of Richard Wilson reached the well attuned ears of Professor Peter Hennessy.


(audio) Professor Peter Hennessy

He let rip in Cabinet and I think quite a number of people came in behind him about how awful and inadequate the senior Civil Service was and Richard Wilson had to sit there, like Saint Sebastian, being increasingly covered in arrows, taking the minutes, and I think Richard Wilson was very shocked by this, the, the depth of the feeling against them as a group.

Anne Perkins

Richard Wilson was described, in David Blunkett’s Diaries, as ‘paling under the onslaught’.


(audio) Lord Richard Wilson

His account of it was that I looked very pale - I think I probably did. Anyone would find it a disturbing experience, particularly since your job as a Cabinet Secretary is to sit and to write what people say and it is the convention that you do not intervene or speak in Cabinet, so I had to sit and take it, which I think is a pretty disagreeable way for a Cabinet minister to behave without warning, even warning that that was what he was going to do.


Anne Perkins

One of David Blunkett’s complaints is that civil servants try to force their policies onto the minister.


(audio) David Blunkett

The Home Office above all departments had what they thought of as departmental policy. It had evolved over the years and in the first few months they actually said ‘but, Home Secretary, that isn’t Home Office policy’, and I said, ‘no, Home Office policy is what I and my ministers tell you it is’.


(audio)Sir Michael Bichard

I think the Civil Service has a role in ensuring that a political party has an opportunity at the right moment to make the difficult decisions.


Anne Perkins

Michael Bichard was perhaps David Blunkett’s favourite Permanent Secretary after their successful work together at the Department for Education. He says Permanent Secretaries must scan the horizon for oncoming express trains, controversial decisions like ‘tuition fees’, and they must create the conditions where they can be tackled, a question of timing and evidence. Sir Ron Dearing was commissioned to investigate funding for Higher Education.


(audio) Sir Michael Bichard

It seemed to me that there was probably only one moment when that decision could be taken and that was right at the beginning of the Administration, because it was almost certainly gonna be unpopular so, yes, I did try and manage a situation where the Dearing Report was available, for a new government of whatever colour to make that decision.


Anne Perkins

At the Home Office though, Martin Narey seethed as his warnings about an impending crisis in prison capacity went unheeded.


(audio) Martin Narey

I have written in my time so many notes to ministers saying that what has happened was going to happen, that I almost got bored with writing them, that I would advise successive Secretaries of State. One of the reasons why I left government was I was very aware that after 23 years and after seven years leading Prisons and then Probation that I wasn’t being listened to.


Anne Perkins

Policy development is one of those core skills on which highflying civil servants traditionally pride themselves. Now, like almost everything else, it’s on the reform agenda. Gus O’Donnell, betraying his early years as an academic, warned young civil servants to take care.


(audio) Sir Gus O’Donnell

Professionalism is absolutely crucial. By professionalism I mean all the work we do in terms of policy advice needs to be evidence based. If you’ve written something and you have managed not to use any numbers, it’s probably not as good as it should be. Lovely essays I get sometimes from people and I think, ‘well, where‘s the evidence?’.


Anne Perkins

There is no longer a monopoly on policy making. Special advisers, lobby groups, think tanks, all participate. At the Treasury, Gordon Brown has commissioned a series of reports from independent outsiders. Sceptics wonder if it’s just about giving internal proposals the authority of external approval. Maybe – but as Gus O’Donnell says, it’s also about getting more informed debate.


(audio) Sir Gus O’Donnell

Informed policy debates are really useful and if you’re getting serious people seriously looking at real issues and understanding the constraints that policy is under, then I think that’s great.


Anne Perkins

Politicians have won the argument on opening up policymaking; now they have something else in their sights. The ultimate guarantee of civil service independence is job security. Some politicians say that makes nonsense of accountability. Who hires and fires has become a contentious issue. David Blunkett:


(audio) David Blunkett

Politicians in our system are not responsible for appointments, we’re not responsible for promotion and we can’t sack. The secretary of state should be responsible directly for the appointment with proper short lists of their permanent secretary and maybe the top three echelons. How can you have a situation where in the end the Permanent Secretary isn’t answerable to the Secretary of State, but is answerable to the Secretary to the Cabinet?


Anne Perkins

Politicians aren’t entirely without influence, but it’s a slow process to bring about change. Charles Clarke was frustrated that it took so long to replace John Gieve at the Home Office, but he did eventually succeed and incidentally he got the Permanent Secretary of his choice.


(audio) Charles Clarke

John had been the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office for a long time before I came. He had done that job, I’m sure professionally, but I felt that it would be better to get a change of situation to try and address the problems the department had. My only regret was that finally we only got the new senior team in just a month or two before I had to resign as Home Secretary and I regret that.


Anne Perkins

Jack Straw, on the other hand, doesn’t want the power to sack, but he does want politicians to be involved in appointments.


(audio) Jack Straw

I think they should have a lot of say and one of the things that I am critical of, is the way in which we have taken a lot of the appointments away from politicians.


Anne Perkins

What’s the purpose of your being more involved?


Jack Straw

Because you have to have confidence in them. I’ve no idea how the senior officials that worked for me voted, I wouldn’t have dreamt of asking them. What I was interested in was whether they could do a job. For sure you shouldn’t turf people out as you come in, you should take those who are there, but as they change you should have a high level of discretion over them.


Anne Perkins

As Home Secretary, Jack Straw objected to one particular appointment.


(audio) Jack Straw

In the end I went along with it and I wish I hadn’t. It was not good for the department; it actually wasn’t good for this individual either. If we’d had a different system where I had been interviewing the candidates and the question for the candidates was were they good for this job, not how do we accommodate this man’s career, then I think we could have saved everybody a lot of trouble.


Anne Perkins

But plainly political involvement, whatever the protestations of innocence, would look like an assault on official impartiality. The keepers of the Whitehall conscience, the Civil Service Commissioners, are led by Janet Paraskeva


(audio) Janet Paraskeva

There would be a danger of selecting somebody who had a similar political persuasion to the prevailing government’s view and that would fundamentally change the nature of our civil service. I think who you vote for and asking somebody their explicit political persuasion is not the point. You get to know how people think. It’s really important that we stick to this merit principle, or our civil service, which actually is the envy of the world, will actually fall by the wayside.


Anne Perkins

But if the demands of impartiality mean politicians can’t sack civil servants for poor performance, why can’t the Head of the Civil Service? What else does accountability mean? Andrew Turnbull was Cabinet Secretary before Gus O’Donnell.


(audio) Lord Andrew Turnbull

Er did I sack any? Er I didn’t sack anyone in the sense of, you know, I counselled some people. By and large they took the signal. I have counselled people saying, you had this job, you had that job; I don’t, really don’t think in the next kind of round that you will get another job.


Anne Perkins

Politicians, in fear of the sack at every election, find this an inadequate notion of accountability. But surely Lord Turnbull has a point about the structure of the Civil Service?


( audio) Lord Andrew Turnbull

It’s a high security model, it’s a high loyalty model, it’s a low reward model. Now, this system comes as a package, you can’t think that you can immediately replace one element of that system, i.e. the degree of job security, job risk, and simply leave all the other elements in place.


Anne Perkins

There’s a hint here that the direction of travel is changing. One former Permanent Secretary recommended to us the trade off of higher pay and lower job security. Gus O’Donnell says it’s not true that everyone has a job for life.


( audio) Sir Gus O’Donnell

There are some myths about this, that we don’t sack anybody. We do. We operate very like the private sector, in the sense of our first reaction when some one’s not performing well is to try and improve their performance. If they’ve got the wrong skill set for that job, then we think about moving them to an area where they are better suited and they will perform well and get somebody new in for that job. If actually they’re just inefficient, then we dismiss and it’s something like 2.5% were dismissed last year so that happens.


Anne Perkins

And what about the troubled Home Office? Before the crisis over the release of foreign prisoners cost Charles Clarke his job, his permanent secretary John Gieve had gone to a new job at the Bank of England. So did his successor David Normington sack anyone?


(audio) Sir David Normington

No, I think that you can only dismiss people when you are absolutely clear that somebody has been negligent. I think there are a whole range of other things that can be done to signal that you’re holding people to account which are short of a sacking.


Anne Perkins

Yet an internal survey only last month showed that one in five thought performance management in the Civil Service was poor and David Normington agrees.


(audio) Sir David Normington

It’s curious thing that, because we’re commenting on ourselves. If that is a true finding then what we’re saying is we don’t think as a senior civil service we are good enough at managing and dealing with poor performance. That is quite a widespread view. I believe it myself.


Anne Perkins

So what does the Permanent Secretary think of Charles Clarke taking the hit for foreign prisoners?


( audio) Sir David Normington

It is very hard to hold a Home Secretary or any minister responsible for an operational mistake deep in his department, so I guess I thought that was very harsh.


Anne Perkins

Charles Clarke himself fought with Tony Blair to let him stay, correctly fearing that otherwise his reform agenda would be lost.


(audio) Charles Clarke

I obviously regret that he came to the view that I couldn’t carry that on, though actually he was very clear, it wasn’t because he thought I couldn’t do it, but because he thought that the public attack would become too great.


Anne Perkins

The ‘public attack’. This media pressure is becoming an extreme form of accountability.


(audio) Leigh Lewis

We have a media, which in generic terms, tends to focus relentlessly on the negative.


Anne Perkins

Leigh Lewis, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, warns that the constantly negative media undermines his staff.


(audio)

Leigh Lewis

DWP delivering its services really well today to millions of satisfied people is not a news story. DWP failing to deliver to a group of customers today, even if it is a relatively small group of customers and a very, very specific problem, is a news story, and I think one of the things that really frustrates our own staff is they don’t believe that they get anything like the reflection in what they read about themselves of the quality of service they are delivering.
Anne Perkins

So when John Reid, with David Normington sitting tensely beside him, broke all the rules and publicly attacked the Home Office, there was dismay and fury in Whitehall.


(audio) John Reid

Our system is not fit for purpose, it is inadequate in terms of its scope, er, it is inadequate in terms of its information technology, leadership, management, systems and processes.


(audio) Sir David Normington

He actually said that in the wake of mass migration, which had been growing, and growing, the system we had for dealing with it was not fit for purpose. I agreed with that. What I didn’t agree with was how it was then represented as “the department and its people are not fit for purpose, so afterwards I felt a bit despondent about how it was being played out to my staff.


Anne Perkins

Had you anticipated how it would be reported?


Sir David Normington

No, I had not. I was rather disappointed by it and taken by surprise. I mean, call me naïve, the way that then ran was very troublesome.


Anne Perkins

Jack Straw, married to a former Permanent Secretary, stands firmly by the traditional courtesy of public loyalty.


(audio) Jack Straw

I do not believe that it’s appropriate or acceptable for ministers to go round blaming their officials in public, nor do I think the public, nor parliament, find that acceptable. You’re there to carry the can.


Anne Perkins

But does this purist line actually disguise a fudge? Is it too easy for both sides to shuffle the blame off onto the other, so that no one takes responsibility and problems stay unresolved. The think tank the IPPR says there’s a ‘governance vacuum’ here which should be filled by creating a free-standing civil service, answerable to an independent board. Nick Pearce is its head.


(audio) Nick Pearce

We have a choice essentially between politicising the Civil Service, saying let’s go the whole hog and John Reid or whoever can appoint whom he like around him, at the top of the Home Office or elsewhere.


Anne Perkins

Which David Blunkett actually…


Nick Pearce

…David Blunkett would support, or, and this is my preferred option, we have a situation where we more clearly distinguish what ministers are responsible for, and should be held accountable for, and what civil servants should be held accountable for delivering those objectives, and make the Civil Service, publicly accountable under contract for the delivery of those things.


Anne Perkins

Nick Pearce, who used to work for David Blunkett, argues the operational can be separated from policy. Andrew Turnbull thinks his ideas will undermine the partnership that matters most.


(audio) Lord Andrew Turnbull

They want to make the Civil Service a separate kind of corporate body responsible to a commission, appointed by parliament. The most difficult thing is to get ministers to work closely in a sense of shared endeavour with officials. If ministers think that the people who are working for them don’t even work for them, they’ll think these people belong to them even less than they do now. So I think it would take things in precisely the wrong direction.


Anne Perkins

But here’s another area where ideas are shifting. Michael, now Lord Jay, a former Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office, who still works with Tony Blair on climate change, would welcome a more formal arrangement.


(audio) Lord Michael Jay

Ministerial styles do differ hugely. Jack Straw was very interventionist, at times that was very important for the Foreign Office. There were one or two issues like the management of our IT when, to be honest, he saved us from some mistakes. There were some other issues when I felt that the hand was too heavy. Margaret Beckett had a lighter touch on management and expected us to get on with it. But if you are managing, as you have to in the Civil Service, for the medium term, you have to have a degree of consistency. I have come to the conclusion now that what you need is a clearer demarcation of responsibility between ministers and Permanent Secretaries for the management of their departments and the delivery of at least a good chunk of the work of those departments.


Anne Perkins

Last month David Normington announced an experiment on these lines at the Home Office. He has agreed a written compact with John Reid – despite some colleagues’ doubts – defining their respective accountabilities:


(audio) Sir David Normington.

It does try to put in the Home Office context a quite clear expectation of what ministers can expect of their civil servants and vice versa.


Anne Perkins

Gus O’Donnell, who is overseeing his own reforms, of which we’ll hear more next week, sounds cautious,


(audio) Sir Gus O’Donnell

I think we’re all looking at it as an unusual pilot and we’ll see. It is at the heart of things to sort out this question about accountabilities. A key part of this is trust between the two people and an understanding of, well, when circumstances change, how are we going to make this compact flexible enough to handle changed circumstances, but robust enough for us to use it, to have a clear answer to who does what and who’s accountable for what.


Ann Perkins

The distinction between operation and policy is often very subtle. Helen Ghosh, now Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural affairs:


(audio) Helen Ghosh

I do think there are very often issues where it’s very difficult to define what is the distinction between the politics and the strategy and the delivery, because the politics is often in the delivery.


Anne Perkins

In a former job she was involved in setting up the Job Centre Plus offices, which threw up precisely this dilemma.


(audio) Helen Ghosh

The great controversy there was initially at the kick off, about whether or not the staff should be behind screens. There was a battle with the PCS unions who were determined that screens should stay. Ministers were absolutely clear and it sounds like a sort of, you know, this is an operational delivery issue. No, it was symbolic of the way ministers wanted Job Centre Plus staff to relate to customers. So that whole issue about screens or not screens, that was all actually as political as delivery.


(audio) Sir Gus O’Donnell…speaking at a meeting

In another world I’d be the left side of midfield for Manchester United, right .


Anne Perkins (speaks as the meeting continues in the background)

The young civil servants listening to Gus O’Donnell are keenly aware of the dilemmas they’ll face later, although, talking to a small group afterwards, it was clear some felt they were already in the hot seat.


( audio) Group of young civil servants,

Female voice

If the experience when I go to the pub with my friends is anything to go by then I am already publicly accountable for every decision the Government makes on anything (laughter all round) Why hasn’t my lottery application been successful, why hasn’t this happened, why has my tax gone up?

Male voice

I certainly think there’s room for a debate because I don’t think it’s right that 100% of the time you can expect ministers to held accountable for absolutely everything cos they’re so reliant on the machinery that’s under them.

2nd Female voice

In terms of me personally wanting to take the credit, or the failure for a particular decision, if I’d have wanted to do that I would have been a politician
Anne Perkins

This question of accountability is at the heart of the way the Civil Service works. The days of silky conversations in the corridors of power are over, now the Civil Service’s major role is delivery and where it succeeds and where it fails is all too clear. Next week we examine the reforms already under way to improve the capacity to turn politicians’ promises and taxpayers’ pounds into improved public services on the ground.


Transcribed by : Kate Doherty








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