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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…

Senior Home Office figure Dame Helen Ghosh to leave Whitehall

One of the most senior women in Whitehall is leaving to head a charity.

Protesters urge Nepal prime minister Baburam Bhattarai to stand down

Hundreds of supporters of opposition political parties have gathered outside the main government offices in Nepal's capital to demand Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai step down.

Leading article: Civil Service reform is as desirable as it is hard

Ministers are right to ask whether some other countries might do things better

The proposed shake-up would radically change the way policies are processed within Whitehall

Ministers plot end to Civil Service neutrality

Ministers could be given the power to dismiss their most senior civil servants and bring in US-style political appointees to drive through policy, as part of a radical shake-up of Whitehall to be considered by the Government.

Today’s announcement will be seen as a victory for David Cameron’s combative former director of strategy Steve Hilton

Government plan puts Civil Service impartiality at risk

Cabinet Office minister provokes fears of politicisation with proposals to appoint senior mandarins on fixed-term contracts

Action from Horse Guards Parade, where empty seats were not in evidence

Laurie Penny at the beach volleyball: 'Do you really need to ask why I'm here?'

Laurie Penny gains an insight into the corporate mindset as she mingles with the crowd at the beach volleyball

Big drop in women working in top Whitehall roles

A drive to recruit more women to top jobs in Whitehall has stalled. The proportion of government departments headed by females has fallen from about half to about a quarter since last year.

A Blagger's Guide To: English Heritage Red Guides

Forget '50 Shades of Grey' – here are 50 volumes of history
Education Secretary Michael Gove

Diary: Michael Gove sends a staffer stateside to work with Republicans

Michael Gove is being increasingly talked up as the next Conservative leader while George Osborne's odds lengthen with every Budget U-turn. It is interesting that someone with whom he has worked closely is off to get first-hand experience of fighting high-pressure elections. James Frayne, director of communications in Mr Gove's department, is off to the US to work for the Republican presidential campaign.

Diary: when Hansard insisted on 'deleting genitalia'

There is a startling revelation in the latest volume of The Alastair Campbell Diaries, in the entry for 22 May 2003. During a cabinet meeting, the Home Secretary David Blunkett made a brief intervention. "People ought to read Hansard," Blunkett said, "especially when they were recommending 'delete genitalia and insert penis'."

Government spending cuts comment made 'off the cuff'

Downing Street sought today to play down a warning by Britain's most senior civil servant that the country could be facing a decade of spending cuts.

Coronation Street veteran Betty Driver after she received her OBE at Buckingham Palace. The actress who played barmaid Betty Turpin in the ITV soap for 42 years has died today aged 91, said a spokeswoman for the programme.

Fact File: The Honours System

The UK honours system stretches back to the Norman conquest, but it wasn’t until 1917 that it began to recognise ordinary Britons.

New appraisals to be introduced for civil servants

The worst-performing civil servants will be given a timeframe for improvement under Whitehall reforms announced today.

Under-performing civil servants face dismissal under Government plans to shake up Whitehall

Under-performing civil servants will face dismissal under plans to shake up Whitehall to be unveiled by the Government today.

Leading article: More women bosses – whatever the economic weather

Fewer than a third of Britain's most influential jobs are held by women. And barely 16 per cent of board members on the UK's top 100 listed companies are female. Change is coming – 10 years ago, it was a mere 7 per cent – but it is far too slow. At the current rate, it will be many decades before the genders are in balance.

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam