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).
We are tasked ‘to analyse the operation and accountability structures of civil services including those of Australia, Singapore, the United States, France and Sweden and the EU.’
Given my involvement, I am not at the moment going to comment on how to reform the Senior Civil Service – although what I have said in the past is available on this blogsite and on the sites of the Public Administration Select Committee and the House of Lords Constitution Committee, both of which I have been an expert witness for.
What I want to ask you, dear readers of Whitehall Watch, is what do you think?
– About the accountability and competence of the SCS in Britain?
– About the accountability arrangements and skills and competences of senior public servants in other countries?
Answers with a comment please! If you want to make an anonymous comment you can always email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will post the comment for you.