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A flawed Civil Service?

On September 7, 2013, in Civil Service, by PeterSilverman
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Fortress mentality – appallingly badly negotiated contractsthe inadequacy of the Civil Servicedisasters like the West Coast Main Line fiasco – a flawed Civil Service.

All phrases used by  Isabel Hardman in the Daily Telegraph of 6th September . Her article was sparked by the Universal Credit debacle at the Department of Work and Pensions.

She revealed that the National Audit Office (NAO) report on Universal Credit had described the project team as having a “fortress” mentality and a “good news” culture, where officials avoided telling ministers about problems.

A Cabinet friend of Mr Duncan Smith, the minister in charge  was quoted as saying:  “You have a permanent secretary who seemed not to know what he was doing and was not willing to admit it, appallingly badly negotiated contracts ….”

She writes that the  Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and Mr Duncan Smith have bonded over one thing: the inadequacy of the Civil Service.

Another minister is quoted as saying that shaking up the Civil Service should have been as big a priority as education was in the early days of this administration “It would have made our reforms more effective, and avoided disasters like the West Coast Main Line fiasco.

The Commons’ Public Administration Select Committee have, we are told, argued for a cross-party commission to publish a programme for reforming the Civil Service before the end of this parliament and that the three main parties shouldn’t find it difficult to agree on this: after all, they all have either current or very recent experience of dealing with a flawed Civil Service.

She concludes by saying “Anyone who wants a radical and effective government after the general election should be drawing up a serious plan to sort out the Whitehall mess“.

Peter Silverman
7th September 2013

 

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