Friday, 23 September 2011

Cameron's big society will be swept away by civil service inertia says report

Unless the government can rapidly develop and implement a comprehensive plan for cross-departmental reform in Whitehall, the Government's wider ambitions for public service reform, the Big Society, localism and decentralisation will fail.

That's the verdict at least of the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC)in a report out today.

In a stinging attack on the culture of civil servants,the report,"Change in Government: the agenda for leadership", highlights the lack of specialist expertise and other key skills,as well as institutional inertia and complacency within Whitehall.

Its findings include the premise that the traditional model of Civil Service reform through gradual change will not be sufficient for circumstances where the Government proposes rapid decentralisation and reductions in departmental budgets.

The report calls for the Cabinet Office to take charge of Whitehall reform, saying that without a "comprehensive change programme" there would be "little of the real change which was the watchword of David Cameron's manifesto for government".

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