For example the recent one year on report on the civil service reform plan proposes to: give ministers the power to extend their ministerial office by making personal appointments of additional special advisers and other external appointees having already increased ministerial involvement in the permanent secretary appointment,  move to a fixed tenure appointment for permanent secretaries for all new appointments with immediate effect. But from outside, it looks like navel gazing. There is a connection though. Insofar as the public are taking any notice, the message that they will have been hearing is that the Civil Service is an obstruction to good government. They may not accept ministers’ definition of good government but they will hear the message that their reduced trust in government is justified. But hold on. Is that what the evidence tells us? In Scotland, members of the same Civil Service which is alleged not to be fit for purpose without these proposed changes have a working relationship with ministers in the Scottish Government which appears successful. It has delivered programmes of policy and action for several successive governments, taking the unfamiliar experience of coalition government in its stride. It has supported a minority government to deliver […]

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