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Bethany Doughty worked as an actuary for 10 years before deciding to retrain as a maths teacher. It has proved to be a lifechanging move, for all the right reasons…

Britain's new top civil servant says he wants to kill off the Sir Humphrey stereotype

And, just to show he means it, Sir Bob is the first person in the post to take up social networking

Workers to vote on pension reforms

More public sector workers are to vote on whether to accept the Government's controversial pension reforms.

Paul Eddington playing the role of PM Jim Hacker as the satirical comedy show Yes, Prime Minister is to be revived for a new series, nearly a quarter of a century on

'Yes, Prime Minister' set to return to screens after 24 year absence

The country is panic-buying petrol whilst the PM is in a hot spot over a pasty row. The timing couldn’t be better for the return of Yes, Prime Minister to screens after 24 years.

And they're off! Civil Service told to 'work' from home

It is known as the "silly season": the month when politicians and civil servants go away for their holidays and shark sightings off the coast of Cornwall take on a national significance.

Unions criticise regional pay rates plan

The Government has sparked a fresh row with unions after confirming plans to press ahead with regional pay rates in the public sector.

Whitehall in private sector shake-up plan

Up to 75,000 jobs at stake in coalition plans to move civil servants into 'John Lewis economy'
Margaret Hodge wants senior civil servants to appear in the Commons

Senior civil servants avoid scrutiny by hiding behind ministers, says Margaret Hodge

The head of Parliament's financial watchdog calls for more accountability and transparency

Leading article: Freedom of information has its limits

Ordinarily, this newspaper would oppose any attempt by the Government to keep information under wraps. And when the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, fights tooth and nail to prevent particular documents seeing the light of day, it is natural to ask what he has to hide. When you then learn that the documents contain risk-assessments positing downsides to the proposed NHS shake-up, the answer would seem to be clear.

Qatada talks 'positive', says May

Talks aimed at ensuring the UK can deport radical cleric Abu Qatada to face terror charges in Jordan were "positive", the Home Secretary said last night.

Norman St John Stevas has died at the age of 82

Tributes paid to Lord St John of Fawsley, a political 'one-off'

Former Tory minister who nicknamed Thatcher 'Tina' dies at 82

Leading article: Sir Humphrey won't like it, but reform must come

Long before Yes Minister became a British, and then an international, television success, the terms Civil Service and reform, used together, were wont to raise scornful laughter. To this day, the senior levels of government service retain, not always justly, this image of institutional immutability. A report out today, couched as an open letter to the heads of the Civil Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood and Sir Bob Kerslake, wants to change that. It has much to commend it.

ajoling by Moira sees fewer late payers

Tax deadline reminders from the former television newsreader, Moira Stewart, whose own financial affairs have attracted media interest, were so effective that the taxman raked in £55m less in late fines this year than last, HMRC admitted yesterday.

Civil servants paid £40m in bonuses

Ministry of Defence civil servants have collected almost £40 million in bonuses in the past year, it was reported today.

Leading article: The tax system is credible only if fair

When the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, was summoned to the House of Commons to explain why the head of the student loans company was being paid as a private contractor, rather than as a government employee, he just about defused the scandal. He announced that Ed Lester would in future have his tax deducted at source, he said that he, Mr Alexander, was setting up a review to discover the extent of the practice throughout Whitehall, and he gave the impression that such pay arrangements were highly unusual.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?