On 8 September 2022 Tom Scholar was removed from his position as Permanent Secretary to the Treasury by Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng. It was widely reported that the sacking of Scholar was a politically driven decision intended to rail … [Read more...] about ‘Politicisation’ of the Civil Service? The House of Lords Constitution Committee Reports
This is the final instalment of four pieces on the place and function of royal commissions, you can find the previous blogs HERE. Anyone who has listened to recent evidence coming out of the Covid Inquiry will be struck by just how … [Read more...] about Royal Commissions Part Four: Once and Future Royal Commissions?
In the first of this series of blogs I pointed out the surge of interest in, and demands for, Royal Commissions on various topics, even though they have not been used as an instrument of policy formation or constitutional reform for more than two … [Read more...] about Royal Commissions Part Three: Constitutional Reform
In a previous post I started to examine the hazy world of ‘Royal Commissions’ and similar bodies. Most commentators and analysts of such bodies maintained there was not very much difference between Royal Commissions and the many similar … [Read more...] about Royal Commissions Part Two: Government by Commission
It is broadly accepted that parliamentary scrutiny of legislation is a ‘good’ thing and that, if possible, there should be more of it. It is also broadly accepted that it is often ineffective and wrongfully subverted. As a result, most commentaries … [Read more...] about The purpose of legislative scrutiny
As another Budget Day comes around, the media focus is inevitably on its contents. But, despite this frenzy, the constitutional and conventional context of the Budget remains poorly understood. This is perhaps understandable as the processes and … [Read more...] about The Budget – getting and spending
Little is ever said or known about the most populous group in parliament, the Members’ staff. Though we are an overwhelming majority in Parliament, not much is understood about our role in the wider political arena. The reason for this is that it’s … [Read more...] about MPs’ offices are at capacity
The decision of Sue Gray – a Senior Civil Servant – to leave the Service and accept a job offer from the Labour Party to become Sir Keir Starmer’s Chief of Staff has sparked a great deal of controversy. All sorts of allegations have been thrown … [Read more...] about Sue Gray and the Labour Party
The myth of an alternative career path for MPs – select committees rather than ministerial office – has finally been debunked by the Hansard Society. An excellent blog analysing movement between select committee chairships and ministerial office … [Read more...] about Should there be a revolving door between the front bench and the committee corridor?
Few, if any, independent observers believe that the United Kingdom has been well governed over recent years. The causes are many and complex but relatively little attention has been paid to the contribution of the senior civil service to … [Read more...] about A mounting crisis? A survey and summary of reports into the senior civil service
I apologise to Alexandra Hall Hall (and The Clash) for recycling the title of her recent paper (which is well worth reading in full) analysing the circumstances in which a permanent US or UK civil servant might be driven to offer their principled … [Read more...] about Should I stay or should I go?
The relationship between the public, private and voluntary sectors is vitally important for both economic success and social cohesion. Anything that undermines mutual co-operation and constructive dialogue, and deters well-regulated movement between … [Read more...] about Greensill: a bridge too far?