Letter: Where mandarins should compete

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Sir: Perhaps I could take advantage of your reference to me ('Room at the top . . .', 22 October) to add my tuppenceworth. Like Robin Butler (23 October), I do not think that Oxford/Cam

bridge versus the rest has much to do with it. It is not where people are taught but what they are taught that matters. We need more professionals and specialists, wherever we can get the best.

But when it comes to the senior civil service, one does not have to be hung up on educational background, gender or anything else. There is a simple solution that discounts all this; it is a pity that your article did not mention it. It is open advertisement and selection to find the right person for the job to be done. Introducing open competition for all mandarin jobs would work wonders.

Yours sincerely,


London, E1

24 October