Truth to power: how Civil Service reform can succeed - Public Administration Committee Contents


5  A Parliamentary Commission?

126. This inquiry considered whether reform of Whitehall would be more effective if it was based on a coherent strategy for the future of the Civil Service. Witnesses considered the fact that, as Lord Hennessy remarked, "there has been no really wide look [at the Civil Service] since Fulton. A great deal has happened to the world and our dear country since the 1960s and it is high time, I think, that we had a look at that".[206] Professor Flinders argued that the challenges facing the Civil Service in the 21st century will be "far more fluid" than the challenges faced by the Northcote-Trevelyan Civil Service in 1854. This meant, he said, that "before going off and looking at any other countries" the Government should think "about what it is we are trying to design a Civil Service to address".[207] The Civil Service union, Prospect, recommended a "wide-ranging, high-calibre strategic review is needed which can look beyond the short-term electoral cycle".[208]

127. Lord Browne, the Government's lead Non-Executive Director, called for a "comprehensive and independent review of the Civil Service's structures, processes and lines of accountability" and a "thorough review of the roles and responsibilities of Ministers and Parliament when it comes to their relationship with the Civil Service". Both studies were, he stated, "long overdue".[209] He added:

    Our model of governance was built for the 19th century, when government was small and uncomplicated. Today, the roles and duties of the permanent civil and wider public service need rethinking and realigning with a political system which has moved on considerably from the time of Northcote-Trevelyan.[210]

128. Jonathan Powell, former Chief of Staff to Tony Blair, told us that there was "a strong case for a really good look at the Civil Service—properly, right across the board and thinking about how to change it rather more dramatically". [211] Without a Commission, Mr Powell warned that "we will lose opportunities to be better governed and to get more stuff done that Governments want to get done. It would be a lost opportunity".[212]

129. Witnesses were clear that the June 2012 Civil Service Reform Plan did not offer this strategic review. Lord Hennessy said that the Plan was "only a fragment of the picture" and needed "context, background, synthesis and a proper discussion about the many possibilities".[213] Evidence from Patrick Diamond, Professor David Richards and Professor Martin Smith stated that the Reform Plan did not include more than "a series of rather piecemeal often unrelated proposals [...] it is difficult to establish the case for reform when there is a lack of an over-arching vision of what the civil service is and does".[214] The "Shrinking the State" Economic and Social Research Council Research Project commented that there was "tension" between the reforms in the Civil Service Reform Plan and the Government's wider public service reform plans, and warned that "the risk is that fuzzy governance structures will produce even fuzzier accountability systems at a time when clear lines of accountability (and therefore leadership) are required".[215]

130. Professor Matthew Flinders commented that the Government did not appear to "have a model or a blueprint" for the Civil Service or "any clear strategy for where we are going, or why".[216] Instead, there was "a whole number of different reforms taking us in different directions".[217] Lord Norton of Louth agreed that there was not much "strategic thought" behind the Government's reform plans. He added that it was "too much a response to events [...] rather than thinking overall, 'what is the strategy we want to achieve? How do we get there?". [218] Lord Wilson of Dinton warned that ministers could not simply pick and choose elements of a new Civil Service structure by taking "bits of America, bits of local government, bits of France, the bits you like, and keep[ing] the rest of the position as it is", as they would face unforeseen consequences from these changes.[219]

131. Hugh Lanning of PCS argued that successful reform of the Civil Service needed to be based on a consensus, following a public debate: in contrast, he viewed the Civil Service Reform Plan as "essentially a private discussion that took place without consultation and it was rushed".[220] PCS argued that the Civil Service Reform Plan "present[ed] further changes as low-key when they could lead, without proper debate, to radical shifts in the role of the civil service".[221] The union added that the Plan did not demonstrate that its proposed solutions really reflected "the type of change which the public and civil servants themselves are asking for, or that it will achieve the modern public services it wants".[222]

132. Former Cabinet Secretary, Lord O'Donnell, told us that "of itself [the Civil Service Reform Plan] is not going to make a dramatic difference to the effectiveness of Government [...] if you really want to improve public sector outcomes, I think there is a radical transformation necessary. It is really thinking about the very basics of what Governments need to do and how they need to do it".[223] Lord Hennessy questioned whether the Civil Service Reform Plan would be able to address all of the failings identified in the Civil Service, arguing that to do so would require "a Second Coming".[224] He doubted whether the Reform Plan would "go down in the annals of administrative history as one of the great documents".[225]

133. Lord Browne argued that there were limitations to the Government's present plan of reforming through "incremental" changes, stating that: "there is only so much that independent directors and a reform plan can do. They can make valuable and long-lasting changes within existing structures. But our system of public administration faces deeper, existential questions".[226] Jonathan Powell concurred, stating that the Blair Government had been mistaken in trying to achieve "incremental changes" to the Civil Service and that the present Government "would be better off with a root-and-branch look at it through a Royal Commission [...] you need to look at the whole system. What you tend to do is introduce perverse incentives. If you change one bit over here and one bit over there they work against each other and you would be much better having an overall plan, like a new Northcote-Trevelyan".[227]

134. Peter Riddell, Director of the Institute for Government, has also argued that "incrementalism is not enough", adding:

    The current scale of change—and the certainty that it will continue for the rest of the decade—raises big questions about the way Whitehall operates and services are delivered, as well as the more frequently highlighted issues of accountability and Secretary of State/Permanent Secretary relations [...] These are proper issues for an inquiry, running alongside but in no way undermining existing reform efforts. An inquiry might offer the chance of building both greater consensus between politicians and civil servants, and cross-party support, around the purpose and shape of the Civil Service.[228]

135. Lord Norton of Louth said that "over time there have been plenty of initiatives [to reform Whitehall], plans come up, but very rarely a full-scale proper review that has identified the role of the Civil Service".[229] He emphasised that such a review should and could attempt to replace current plans but "would incorporate what is happening with the Government's plans for the Civil Service".[230]

136. Professor Andrew Kakabadse's written evidence supported the call for a Parliamentary Commission into the Civil Service, which he believed would be "a penetrating and transparent inquiry identifying the nature and depth of disengagement and the consequences of not addressing this problem". He stressed the need for such an inquiry to be independent; to understand the mindset of the organisation involved and protect the inquiry from internal resistance to change. It was critical, Professor Kakabadse argued, that such an inquiry was able to "gather evidence which accurately captures current reality and ensure that that evidence has the exposure and status to be heard".[231]

137. There has been considerable opposition from the Minister, the Cabinet Secretary and the Head of the Civil Service to the idea of a Parliamentary or Royal Commission on the Civil Service. The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, stated that his "honest view is that we know very well the challenges facing the Civil Service right now" and argued that, as "the country is facing a major economic and fiscal challenge", a Commission would be "a distraction" from the "very urgent and important task" of current reforms.[232] Sir Jeremy added that "the media debate about [the state of the Civil Service] is exaggerated", and that looking at the issues in the Civil Service in a piecemeal fashion was "an adequate way of looking at it [...] The system quite rightly focuses on the important and urgent".[233] The Reform Plan, he said, has "all the ingredients" to be implemented successfully.[234] The Head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, said that "it is a judgment whether a Commission would be a better way" of addressing concerns about the state of Whitehall, than the Government's present reform programme. He cautioned that the "real risk" would be that "we lose a lot of time when vital change needs to happen now".[235] The comments of the Head of the Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary are echoes of the comments by the civil servants tasked with the implementation of the Fulton Report in 1969, who stated that the substantive reforms Fulton proposed could not be introduced as there were "pressing problems to be dealt with".[236]

138. Sir Bob added that he was "doing that longer term thinking alongside" the Civil Service Reform Plan.[237] He also refuted the suggestion that the Reform Plan focused solely on improving efficiency, arguing that it contained "some quite transformational things".[238]

139. The Minister also expressed concerns over the time taken in the past to implement recommendations from strategic considerations of the Civil Service (such as Royal Commissions)—if recommendations have been implemented at all. In his June 2013 speech to Policy Exchange, the Minister commented that the Northcote-Trevelyan Report took 15 years to be implemented and also asked, "can anyone remember anything actually changing?" as a result of the Fulton Report.[239] He echoed the words of Harold Wilson that "Royal Commissions take minutes and last years" and argued that they "act as a pretext for not doing stuff that needs to be addressed urgently".[240]

140. The Minister told us that he did not want the "urgent" reforms the Government had not yet been able to implement "being put on hold or on the back burner while a sage and wise Royal Commission scratches its head about this for the next two years".[241] Mr Maude added that "even with the best will in the world" a Commission would prevent short-term changes happening to the Civil Service "because you then have a whole lot of possibilities being raised by the Commission for direction in the future, and so nothing happens in the meantime. It is difficult enough to get anything to happen at all".[242]

141. The Minister accepted that "a lot of what is in the Civil Service Reform Plan does look quite mundane and gritty, and is not very high-flown at all".[243] He argued that there was not a "fundamental problem" in the Civil Service, but a "number of problems, all of which are soluble", and identified—with solutions proposed—in the Civil Service Reform Plan.[244] There was not, he argued, a common cause behind each problem.[245] The Government was, however, making progress in the "grinding, hard work" of reforming the Civil Service and he did not want to "put it all on one side while we examine our navel for a period".[246] He admitted, though, that "exactly the things that need reform [in the Civil Service] make it difficult to reform".[247]

142. In further evidence to us in June, the Minister stated that he had not "ruled out" a Commission on the Civil Service (and that it would not be for him to rule such a decision out), but that he "would need to be convinced" that such a commission would not prevent the implementation of "the current reform efforts, which are urgently needed and very broadly agreed".[248]

143. Professor Matthew Flinders reported that ministerial resistance to the idea of such a commission was because they believed there to be "no votes in it", and that it would look like "a very weak response" to current problems. He countered this, however, by stressing that "the benefits [of a Commission] clearly outweigh the costs for the Government of the country as a whole, not for whichever party might form the Government after 2015".[249]

The role of Parliament

144. Patrick Diamond and Dr Andrew Blick pointed out that the Civil Service Reform Plan did not address fully the "crucial issue" of the role of Parliament in scrutinising the Civil Service.[250] Dr Blick added that:

    Any fundamental change to Whitehall should only take place overtly and on a basis of wide consultation and preferably consensus. An appropriate vehicle for ensuring that this kind of agreement can be sought would be a parliamentary committee [...] The Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 makes Parliament, rather than the Royal Prerogative, the source of the legal basis for the Civil Service. For this reason a heightened parliamentary involvement in Whitehall is apt.[251]

Lord Norton of Louth agreed, stating that his "principal concern" with the Government's reform plans was that they saw "the Civil Service largely in isolation of ministers and Parliament".[252]

145. The Civil Service Commission argued that it was Parliament's intention, in the passing of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act, "to uphold the principle of an impartial Civil Service appointed on merit [...] we do not believe, therefore, that it is in our gift to sign that principle away even if we wanted to do so. The right place to do that, if it is to be done, is in Parliament and through legislation".[253]

146. The First Civil Service Commissioner, Sir David Normington, has stated it is essential that any "significant changes to the Civil Service are supported by as broad a consensus as possible": adding

    While the civil service must serve the elected government with commitment, it is not the preserve of any one government or political party. That is why significant reforms should have wide political and public support, and reflect a broad consensus about the kind of civil service we need.[254]

147. His predecessor, Dame Janet Paraskeva, argued that if ministers sought "a different constitutional model for our Civil Service, where politicians do control the people who work to them most directly", then this should be considered thoroughly, rather than as a small, piecemeal change.[255]

148. Following a discussion in the Liaison Committee, which comprises all the Chairs of the Select Committees of the House of Commons, it too unanimously resolved to support the principle of a Commission comprising a joint committee of both Houses to consider the future of the Civil Service.[256] A letter from the Chair of the Liaison Committee is included at Appendix A.

149. The independent evidence in favour of some kind of comprehensive strategic review of the nature, role and purpose of the Civil Service is overwhelming. Our critique of the Civil Service Reform Plan and its limited implementation underlines this. The objections raised by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and by the Leadership of the Civil Service are unconvincing and can be seen as part of the "bias to inertia" which they say they are seeking to address. On the one hand, the Government insists that the present reforms are "urgent". On the other hand, they are too modest and piecemeal to address the root causes of the frustrations which ministers feel beset them or to lead to the kind of transformational change that many believe the Civil Service needs. Parts of the Civil Service Reform Plan may be implemented but, as a change programme, it will fail. Sustained reform has to be initiated by cooperation and supported by external scrutiny and analysis that leads to a comprehensive set of recommendations for change. This cannot be done by ministers and officials who are, as they say themselves, so pressed by far more immediate and high-profile economic, political and international issues.

150. So we come to the sole and central recommendation of our inquiry and Report, recognising the sheer weight of the evidence which we have received: that a Parliamentary Commission should be established to consider the future of the Civil Service, established as a Joint Committee of both Houses on the same lines as the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards which reported earlier this year. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of this, reflected by the unanimous support of the House of Commons Liaison Committee. Such a Commission could draw on the extensive experience of government and the Civil Service in Parliament and its conclusions would enjoy cross-party consensus. The Commission should do its work alongside current Civil Service reforms, not as an alternative: the published reforms are aimed to address urgent short-term issues, while the Commission should focus on the strategic long-term vision for the Civil Service, for which the Government has, in its One Year On report, recognised the need. The fact that more radical measures that challenge the Northcote-Trevelyan settlement are also being discussed underlines the need for Parliament to oversee proper consideration of issues that are fundamental to the way our uncodified constitution operates. The Civil Service does not exist solely to serve the Government of the day, but also future Governments. It is right and proper that substantial reforms to the role of the Civil Service should be scrutinised by Parliament. Such a Parliamentary Commission could be established before the end of the year and report before the end of the current Parliament so that after the 2015 general election a comprehensive change programme can be implemented.

Issues that a Commission should consider:

A) The Context for the Civil Service of the Future

151. Our inquiry has been conducted against a background of a world which is struggling to become used to an ever faster pace of change. Technology has transformed management practices in business, the way politics works, and the relationship between the state and the citizen. Aspects of our present society would be unrecognisable to previous generations: devolution and decentralisation; the impact of the EU, the ECHR and the growth of international law; the Freedom of Information Act; the demands for openness and transparency; 24-7 media; what the citizen expects of the state of the services it provides—and what politicians think Government should be able to deliver; how the state looks today compared to 1968 (when Fulton reported); the change in the UK's role in the world; how differently Governments relate to each other; how globalisation has internationalised challenges—and decision-making.

152. Any inquiry into the Civil Service could usefully start by cataloguing how the nation, society and the world has changed since the Fulton Committee reported 45 years ago, in order to provide a fresh context for considering the future of the Civil Service. Some of these issues will have to be considered in greater detail.

B) THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PARLIAMENT AND THE CIVIL SERVICE

153. The relationship between Parliament and the Civil Service and the way Parliament holds Government to account will be affected by the Government's Civil Service reforms; in particular, the plans to increase the number of civil servants being held directly to account by Parliamentary select committees; and the Government's review of the Osmotherly Rules and the Armstrong Memorandum. This relationship is already fundamentally different from the time of Fulton, not least because of the creation and now the election of departmental select committees in the House of Commons. Future Whitehall reforms could also impact on this relationship: greater involvement for ministers in permanent secretary appointments would, Sir David Normington remarked, strengthen calls for Select Committees to hold pre-appointment hearings with the minister's chosen candidate.[257] The House of Commons Liaison Committee has also called for a "review of the relationship between Government and select committees with the aim of producing joint guidelines for departments and committees, which recognise ministerial accountability, the proper role of the Civil Service and the legitimate wish of Parliament for more effective accountability".[258

154. The impact of these reforms on Parliament and the relationship between Government and Parliament warrant further and comprehensive consideration by Parliament. As former Cabinet Secretary Lord Wilson of Dinton commented, supposedly limited changes borrowed from other country's systems could lead to unforeseen consequences from these changes. This is not an excuse for any of the proposed changes to be delayed. It is, however, a reason for these changes to be considered by a Joint Committee of both Houses.

C: THE ROLE OF MINISTERS

155. As noted previously, Fulton's remit excluded it from any consideration of the role of ministers or their relationship with officials. Most of our witnesses stressed that Civil Service reform would not be successful unless it considered the relationship between ministers and civil servants.[259] Lord Norton of Louth stated that, "you cannot really produce a Civil Service that is fit for purpose unless you can do the same for ministers".[260] PCS concurred, arguing that while it accepted there were problems in the Civil Service, the role of ministers also needed to be considered: "you have to look at two sides of the equation and not just at one, if you are going to come up with a solution".[261] Professor Hood described the fundamental problem of the Civil Service as "to do with the way that management works, as between the professionals and the politicians".[262] Jonathan Powell said that he would have the Commission look at the whole structure of government, including the relationship between ministers and officials, "to see whether they could find a way in the modern world to make it more responsive, more imaginative and more innovative without undermining the political independence".[263]

156. It is crucial that the relationship between ministers and officials is not excluded from consideration by any inquiry into the future of the Civil Service.

D) THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CENTRE OF GOVERNMENT AND DEPARTMENTS

157. Fulton was also excluded from looking at the structure of government. We have highlighted how the silo-ed department structure in Whitehall impedes the operation of government and witnesses emphasised the need for this to be considered in an independent review of the Civil Service. Former minister, Nick Herbert MP, suggested that a radical approach to reforming Whitehall structures should be considered: "it is worth exploring those different options, because the silo system is a big contributor to the problem of short-termism".[264] Carolyn Downs of the Local Government Association told us that the Civil Service should move towards a single unified structure, noting that, when she worked as a civil servant, she was "taken aback" by the "lack of command and control".[265] Patrick Diamond called for "a much more fundamental rethink" of the relationship between departments and the centre of Government.[266] Our 2012 Report Strategic thinking in Government: without National Strategy, can viable Government strategy emerge? cited evidence that the Treasury did not aid the strategic operation of government. Witnesses in this inquiry called for reforms to the way the Treasury worked with the Cabinet Office.[267]

158. In line with the Minister's question about whether Whitehall should move towards "a more unified operating system", this must be a major part of the inquiry, but only after the necessary data has been gathered and analysed and the conclusions to be drawn from it have been accepted by all concerned, so that organisational changes are a means to an end, and not an end in themselves.

E) LEADERSHIP

159. Professor Andrew Kakabadse called for a serious look at the "strategic leadership problem" that reduced the capacity of governments to reform the Civil Service.[268] He added that this was not a new problem, describing "high inadequacy" of strategic leadership among the ministers of the Blair Government, and concluded that "the problem does not lie with the civil servants; it lies across an institutional basis and until this is examined, the same problems and frustrations will occur in the future".[269]

160. The question of how to reconcile the political and institutional leadership of Whitehall so there is a shared understanding of what change is needed and how it is to be managed is an essential component of success. This flows from the consideration of the relationship between ministers, officials and Parliament. At present, there is little or no collective leadership in the accepted sense of the word and this issue can no longer be avoided.

F) ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND THE WIDER PUBLIC SECTOR

161. Professor Flinders stated that "the Civil Service is now just the centre of an incredibly complex delivery chain involving a whole range of different bodies. Unless you try to understand how those different bodies and layers fit together, the Civil Service at the centre will inevitably be troubled".[270] We heard that this attempt to take a wider view was not present in the Government's approach to the Civil Service. Carolyn Downs of the Local Government Association remarked that the Civil Service Reform Plan was "written almost in the absence of the wider public sector".[271] Derrick Anderson, Chief Executive of Lambeth Council, called for consideration of what he viewed as the "fundamental issue [of] renegotiating the relationship between what the Civil Service does and what happens at local government level".[272] Without this wider perspective, Mr Anderson told us, Civil Service reform was "doomed to fail".[273]

162. A review of the Civil Service must build on the work of the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee regarding the relationship between central and local government.[274]

G) THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CIVIL SERVICE AND CITIZENS

163. We noted in our Report, Public engagement in policy-making, that the Government is aiming to redefine the relationship between the citizen and the state, enabling and encouraging individuals to take a more active role in society. During this inquiry we heard that the Civil Service was failing to focus on the experience of people who interacted with the Government and its agencies.[275] Lord Adonis reported that "there were very few civil servants who spent any time on the front line or had any real understanding of what these services were like from the viewpoint of the citizen".[276] Sir John Elvidge stressed that consideration of the Civil Service should not just focus on the relationship between ministers and their officials, but on "that vital third party, the citizen".[277] As we concluded in our Public engagement in policy-making Report, "the process of policy-making is one where the public can play an active and meaningful role, and it is right that the citizen and people with knowledge and expertise from outside Government should have the opportunity to influence the decisions of Government" and this must be reflected in any inquiry.[278]

H) TRAINING, SKILLS AND PAY

164. Witnesses were in broad agreement that the Government's current policy on Civil Service pay was failing. Lord O'Donnell stated that the £140,000 salary cap was "not helpful" for the Civil Service, and that Whitehall would "end up with second-rate people" if it failed "to pay the going rate".[279] Sean Worth, former special adviser, cited the advice of Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco, who argued that the Government "should just drop this obsession around pay [...] should just bus in commercial people and pay them a lot of money to get things right".[280] Peter Riddell called for a system where "you retain a Treasury-type control on the totality, [but] you allow the Departments more discretion, including probably on pay levels", citing the higher salaries paid to officials working on the 2012 Olympics.[281]

165. Lord Adonis argued that improved training for existing staff had to co-exist with attracting external expertise.[282] The FDA and PCS expressed concern about the abolition of the National School for Government: Hugh Lanning of PCS warned that its successor organisation, Civil Service Learning, had been established without a "debate about what skills are required" in the Civil Service.[283]

166. The decision to abolish the National School for Government with so little discussion or consultation must be revisited. The arguments for some such institution need to be reassessed. It should be an institution which promotes continuing change as well a centre of research, learning, history and wisdom.

I) IMPACT OF DEVOLUTION ON THE UK CIVIL SERVICE

167. A Commission of the future of the Civil Service should consider what the current and future role of the UK Civil Service should be in a devolved UK. Civil servants in the Scottish and Welsh Governments are accountable to ministers in their respective Governments. This means, as Derek Jones, the Permanent Secretary to the Welsh Government commented, that there are parts of the Civil Service Reform Plan and wider Civil Service reform agenda that are not applicable in Wales, due to the different political leadership.[284] The Scottish Government's evidence cited its two-fold responsibilities:

    to deliver the policies of the elected Government of Scotland, which includes delivering the current Scottish Government's Purpose of creating a more successful country by increasing sustainable economic growth with an opportunity for all of Scotland to flourish; and to act with integrity, impartiality, objectivity and honesty.[285]

168. Mr Jones emphasised the "very big challenge" of increasing "understanding in Whitehall of our devolution settlement and what we are trying to do here in Wales".[286] He called for civil servants in all parts of the UK to have "a good understanding of the developing constitutional make-up of the UK; of what devolution means in practice; and of the approach required to acknowledge difference and readily serve three governments from one unified, but flexible, Service".[287]

169. The impact of devolution and decentralisation on one of our central institutions of state has hardly been given any external consideration, and yet the consequences are potentially very significant and underappreciated.

J) THE CIVIL SERVICE OF THE FUTURE

170. Our Reports in this Parliament, Strategic thinking in Government and Public engagement in policy-making, noted the complex and unpredictable challenges in the globalised world that the UK is facing. Journalist Philip Stephens has commented on "diffusion of power—from states to other actors and from old elites to citizens" facing the Civil Service, citing also the "proliferation of non-state organisations and with religious and ethnic identities that have no respect for national borders".[288] The Cabinet Office cited the "economic and financial challenges, public service reform and rising consumer expectations" faced by Whitehall.[289]

171. Our evidence suggested that it was difficult for ministers to look at issues on a long-term basis.[290] One example was the finding of the House of Lords Select Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change that the Government had failed to consider, in a holistic manner, the long-term challenge to society of an ageing population—just one of many complex long-term challenges facing the country.[291]

172. Lord Norton of Louth said that the present Civil Service reforms contained:

    too much the immediacy of someone coming into office, feeling there is a "something must be done" mentality, or "I must have my big Bill," rather than taking the long-term view, which Ministers are not good at, because, for political reasons, they take the short-term view. They are not thinking, "Where do we want to be in this area in five or 10 years' time?"[292]

Jonathan Powell stated that a fifteen year, or longer, timescale is necessary to reform the Civil Service.[293]

173. Sir Bob Kerslake told us that the Government's One Year On document would " look to some of these longer-term changes that need to be made".[294] The Paper stated that the Minister and Head of the Civil Service had decided "to develop a longer-term vision for a reformed Civil Service—the 21st Century Civil Service". This vision was not included in the One Year On document.

174. The draft remit of the Parliamentary Commission on the Civil Service should be to consider and report on:

a)  The relationship between the Government and the people, and how the Civil Service should be made more responsive to the citizens to ensure government by the people for the people in today's world;

b)  the purpose, structure, skills and culture of Cabinet Government and the UK Civil Service, taking account of the challenges facing the Civil Service and the country as a whole; and

c)  the importance of leadership within the Civil Service, and the relationship between ministers and officials.

d)  The Commission should make recommendations for legislative and other action and determine how any recommendations shall be implemented within a fixed timescale, and how such implementation will be independently monitored.

175. Until the present Parliament the House of Commons used to hold a full one-day debate on the Civil Service every year. There has been no such debate on the Civil Service in this Parliament and the Government should ensure that such a debate is held at the earliest opportunity on a motion to establish the proposed Commission as quickly as possible.


206   Q 14 Back

207   Q 636 Back

208   CSR 3 Back

209   "Business and Government: Lessons Learned - in conversation with Lord Browne", Institute for Government, 6 June 2013, instituteforgovernment.org.uk Back

210   "Business and Government: Lessons Learned - in conversation with Lord Browne", Institute for Government, 6 June 2013, instituteforgovernment.org.uk Back

211   Q 764 Back

212   Q 799 Back

213   Q 14 Back

214   CSR 11 Back

215   CSR 1 Back

216   Q 624 Back

217   Q 624 Back

218   Q 643 Back

219   Q 160 Back

220   Q 485 Back

221   CSR 4 Back

222   CSR 4 Back

223   Qq 361-362 Back

224   Q 6 Back

225   Q 8 Back

226   "Business and Government: Lessons Learned - in conversation with Lord Browne", Institute for Government, 6 June 2013, instituteforgovernment.org.uk Back

227   Q 799 Back

228   "Be careful what you review", Institute for Government, 19 June 2013, www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/blog  Back

229   Q 562 Back

230   Q 669 Back

231   CSR 36 Back

232   Q 889, Q 884 Back

233   Qq 985-986 Back

234   Q 863 Back

235   Q 885 Back

236   Kellner and Hunt, The Civil Servants: An inquiry into Britain's ruling class (London: 1980), p 66 Back

237   Q 874 Back

238   Q 877 Back

239   "Ministers and Mandarins: speaking truth unto power", Cabinet Office, 4 June 2013, www.gov.uk Back

240   Q 1107 Back

241   Q 1107 Back

242   Q 1109 Back

243   Q 1028 Back

244   Q 1113 Back

245   Q 1118 Back

246   Q 1110 Back

247   Q 1071 Back

248   Q 1209 Back

249   Qq 653, 670 Back

250   Q 9 Back

251   CSR 2 Back

252   CSR 26 Back

253   CSR 24 Back

254   "Sir David Normington: 3 key tests for reform", Civil Service World, 28 June 2013,  Back

255   Q 144 Back

256   CSR 37 Back

257   Q 450 Back

258   Liaison Committee, Second Report of Session 2012-13, Select committee effectiveness, resources and powers, HC 697, para 115 Back

259   Q 64 Back

260   Q 629 Back

261   Q 485 Back

262   Q 2 Back

263   Q 765 Back

264   Q 240 Back

265   Q 604 Back

266   Q 46 Back

267   Public Administration Select Committee, Twenty-fourth Report of Session 2010-12, Strategic thinking in Government: Without National Strategy can viable government strategy emerge?, HC 1625, para 108. Q 773 [Jonathan Powell], Q 628 [Professor King] Back

268   Q 87 Back

269   Q 88 Back

270   Q 630 Back

271   Q 587 Back

272   Q 613 Back

273   Q 588 Back

274   Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, Third Report of Session 2012-13, Prospects for codifying the relationship between central and local government, HC 656-I Back

275   Q 78 Back

276   Q 204 Back

277   Q 106 Back

278   Public Administration Select Committee, Second Report of Session 2013-14, Public engagement in policy-making, HC 75, para 11 Back

279   Qq 398, 400 Back

280   Q 62 Back

281   Q 63 Back

282   Q 229 Back

283   Q 502 Back

284   CSR 31 Back

285   CSR 32 Back

286   CSR 31 Back

287   CSR 31 Back

288   "Do not blame democracy for the rise of the populists", Financial Times, 16 May 2013  Back

289   CSR 29 Back

290   Q 507 [Dave Penman] Back

291   House of Lords, Report of the Select Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change, Session 2012-13, HL paper 140, para 44 Back

292   Q 643 Back

293   Q 736 Back

294   Q 873 Back


 
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Prepared 6 September 2013