108. The challenges facing Whitehall will require
a Civil Service reform programme more extensive in size and scope
than attempted for many years. We have received little evidence
that the Government is engaging with the factors that determine
the success of such reform programmes, namely establishing the
appropriate scope for change, setting clear objectives and timescales
for reforms, and ensuring central coordination and political support.
Most importantly, we have no sense of what the Government thinks
a reformed Civil Service will look like. Without a clear set of
objectives, Civil Service reform and, therefore, the wider public
service reform programme will fail.
109. Most Departments are aware of what they
are seeking to achieve, but we have seen little evidence that
many Departments have thought clearly about how they will make
these changes or the nature of leadership required to implement
them. We are concerned that any change to the Civil Service must
overcome substantial inertia. A cultural change to accept new
ideas, innovation, decentralisation, localism and the Big Society,
necessary if these flagship government policies are to succeed,
will only come with leadership and a clear plan.
110. We consider that in preparing for the necessary
reform there is no substitute for the development of a centre
for the operation of Government which is truly
world-class and properly equipped to support delivery departments
throughout the reform process and beyond. The scale of the challenges
faced by the Civil Service call for the establishment of such
a corporate centre, headed by someone with the authority to insist
on delivery across the Civil Service. We propose to return to
this issue in any future examination of the role of the Head of
the Home Civil Service.