Whitehall 'needs radical reform' to avoid a crisis
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Monday 05 March 2012
A radical reform in Whitehall must be pushed through to head off a looming crisis in public services, David Cameron is warned today.
The Institute for Government, an independent think tank with close Whitehall links, says a more effective early warning system is needed to stop ministers pressing on with policies such as the ill-fated NHS reforms before they have been properly thought through.
In an open letter, the Institute for Government says: "Fundamental change is now a necessity, not an option." It adds that the stakes are high "not just for the civil service and the Coalition but also for the public".
Success will make sure that high- quality services can be provided at a lower cost, it says. Any failure will result not only in a demoralised civil service but also in poor services and a dissatisfied public.
When Government ministers set out their Whitehall reform plans this spring, the Institute says that the permanent secretaries, who head up each department, should be made more accountable. They should also be ready to challenge any unsound policies, it adds.
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