LETTER:Whitehall ideal of public service under attack

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is something to learn from Dame Gillian Brown's letter (2 March) that the House of Lords is to debate later this week the bizarre move to sell off the agency that recruits, among others, fast-stream civil servants. The House of Commons dog has failed to bark in the night and the low-key, ie surreptitious, announcement of the plan by answer to a Written Question on November 23 has limited discussion anywhere else.

The reasons given by the Office of Public Service (itself similarly due for liberation from its constraints) are half-baked and unconvincing. And there seems to have been no process of consultation before a change of historic, even constitutional, significance. I suppose that this would have delayed the doctrinaire advance of privatisation.

How contemptuously we are treated now!

Sir Derek Mitchell

London SW15

The writer was Second Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury, 1973-77