Whitehall’s Capability Reviews

At last, a fairly open and quite critical review of the competence of Whitehall.  I have commented before on the blind spot that some have over civil service standards (e.g. https://liverpoolmpa.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/a-self-serving-elite/).  A recent series of Capability Reviews make for some interesting reading and begint to open up a discussion about standards in Whitehall (see http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/accountability/capability/web_reports/progress_next_steps.asp).  Perhaps more important is the fact that we might also begin to see evidence of efforts to change and improve over time.  Together with recent Public Administration Select Committee discussions about skills for government, it begins to feel like some light is being shed on the world of the policy makers.  For too long, we have been expected to accept that policy officials were an elite and that they deserved respect as of right.  But evidence suggests that there are problems of integrity, competence and basic skills.  It will be interesting to observe the reviews develop.

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