Now this is interesting – Civil Service reform

With growing dissatisfaction within government and without with the state of the civil service demands for change are growing. The ever-frustrated Steve Hilton proposed a ninety percent (!) cut in the numbers of the civil service, the government will come forward with its own proposals soon, the Public Accounts Committee wants civil servants to be held to account for administrative matters and waste, the Public Administration Committee wants a strategically-focused civil service and rumours fly round of fixed-term contracts and political appointments at the top of the service. What they all have in common is they want (bar the government, perhaps) Parliament and Select Committees to have a role in holding the civil service to account.

They share a view that we are undergoing constitutional drift as the old constitutional convention of civil servants being accountable to ministers who themselves are accountable to parliament breaks down. Now the high-powered Constitution Committee is looking at the issue of accountability of civil servants.

This could turn out to be quite fun and controversial. Definitely one to watch.

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