Better aligned? The standalone strategy units that existed in departments in 2010 have, in a number of departments, been merged with the private offices. The aim has been to achieve better alignment of policy making resources in departments with ministerial priorities. These units have also taken on progress chasing and quality assurance. This approach is potentially another route to achieving some of the goals set out in the proposals for Extended Ministerial Offices. More flexible? In 2010 some departments had begun to use small, flexible pools of staff, deployed reactively to high priority policy work. In most cases this was in addition to traditional standing policy teams. Now there is wide variation between departments, from those who have only recently dipped their toes into flexible pools (often keeping it one as a small, central ‘crack team’), to those who have dived right in, rolling flexible resourcing out across a whole department. In practice, even those with ambitions of moving towards a norm of flexible project working recognise that this is best pursued within directorates to give some coherence to staff moves – what one participant at our roundtables called flexible ‘puddles’ around the ‘rocks’ at director level. However, not all […]

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