The idea of ‘tsars’ in Whitehall is a recent name for an old practice; bringing in outside actors to advise, and sometimes to act, on a specific issue. Although not all tsars hit the headlines, Dr Ruth Levitt and Bill Solesbury argue that these appointments are a bigger phenomenon than is often supposed and incumbents […]
Probably the most important role of Whitehall departments is giving policy advice to Ministers. It is therefore curious that policy-making did not figure directly in the Capability Reviews that central government departments have been going through in the past few years.
A very useful new ‘concept paper‘ has just been published by the European Commission, authored mainly by UK professor Norman Flynn. Aimed at the development community, it will nevertheless be of interest to all scholars and practitioners of public management.
A new NAO Report – Helping Government Learn – sets out to encourage better policies and practice for ‘organisational learning’ in government.
One the NAO’s latest reports points to a small but significant area of inefficiency in Whitehall – recruitment:
In December I appeared as a witness before two Select Committees in the Westminster parliament: the Treasury Committee (TSC) which was responding to the government’s Pre-Budget Report; and the Public Administration Committee (PASC) which was investigating what standards of ‘good government’ might look like.
The major first report by the UK’s latest ‘think tank’, the Institute for Government led by well-known and outspoken former Permanent Secretary Sir Michael Bichard, bodes well for the future of the new body. It is a serious, measured and balanced account of many of the achievements and problems experienced in the UK.
Sir Gus O’Donnell, head of the UK civil service, in a recent speech outlined why he thought the British civil service would perform well in the current financial and economic crisis. In an article – “Mandarin-tinted glasses” – published in Public Finance magazine, I ask questions just how well Whitehall is really doing – based on […]