Drive reform to modernise government

A new report by the Institute for Government has argued that Whitehall needs people with specific skills sets and experience to successfully deliver on major projects.

Analysing previous government projects that have failed, including Universal Credit, the InterCity West Coast franchise competition or the electronic tagging of offenders, the policy group says that lack of success derives from departments either lacking the specialist skills that they needed or failing to make effective use of what they did have.

The report, Professionalising Whitehall, identifies four ways in which reforms have been held back: in the turnover of leadership, the constraints placed on civil service leaders, a lack of resources and the absence of stable funding.

Bronwen Maddox, director of the Institute for Government, said in his foreword to the report: “If the government is to successfully negotiate the complex challenges it now faces, the civil service must have the specialist capability that it needs. Embedding major organisational change takes years and the Institute for government will continue to measure progress in this area. With huge pressures on the public sector, which will only increase as we leave the EU, these reforms are critical in ensuring that we have a government fit to handle the challenges of the 21st century.”

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