Letter: New mandarins in old footsteps

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Sir: Sir Robin Butler (Letters, 23 October) protests too much. I am quite prepared to believe that Sir Peter Kemp was not sacked for his lack of an Oxbridge education. But Sir Robin cannot escape the fact that the mandarins at the top of the Civil Service are very keen to create a senior Civil Service in their own image.

This is shown by appointments to the top jobs in the new executive agencies - supposedly the cutting edge of the new model Civil Service and, if we suspend disbelief for a moment, autonomous, get-up-and-go, 'customer'- orientated examples of the new Conservative approach. Of the first 72 agency chief executives, at least 18 (25 per cent) are Oxbridge graduates. It also does not seem to make much difference whether they were recruited from outside the Civil Service or not.

The original Next Steps report was critical of the lack of real management experience at the top of the Civil Service. The National Union of Civil and Public Servants (NUCPS) represents the thousands of junior and middle managers who actually ensure that the work of the Civil Service gets done. But if the Government is allowed to succeed, its policy of breaking up the national Civil Service will simply assist the new mandarins to step comfortably into the shoes of the old mandarins while our members are left to face the prospect of contracting- out and privatisation.

Yours sincerely,

JOHN SHELDON

Deputy General Secretary

NUCPS: National Union of Civil

and Public Servants

London, SE1

23 October

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