Next Steps manager to retire early

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A SHAKE-UP of senior Whitehall management is to be delivered by the Prime Minister today, writes Anthony Bevins.

Sir Peter Kemp, Second Permanent Secretary and project manager for the Next Steps Initiative at the Office of the Minister for the Civil Service, is to take early retirement.

Sir Peter's retirement from the Civil Service is unusual because he is only 57.

William Waldegrave, the Minister for the Civil Service, had said only on Monday that the 70 Next Steps Agencies - Sir Peter's brainchild - had been the foundation for government changes and improvement in the delivery of central government services to the public.

However, it was said last night that John Major would be announcing a number of senior appointments today, and Mr Waldegrave will be provided with a new civil servant to help pursue the further changes promised by Mr Major during the general election campaign.

It is entirely possible that Mr Waldegrave has been meeting inbuilt Whitehall resistance to some of the changes promised by the Conservative Party at the last election - including moves towards a more open system of government, which have plainly been obstructed by Whitehall.