Today the UK’s first postwar coalition government enters its fifth year in office with every expectation of reaching the end of the fixed parliamentary term. This is an achievement in itself – there were many who doubted the Coalition’s viability and longevity at its inception. But how will the Coalition work in its final year, and how should Whitehall and the parties operate to ensure effective government up till and beyond the election in May 2015? The Institute for Government interviewed around 30 senior officials and special advisers across government about how the coalition is working at present and their concerns about governing in the final year. Over the last nine months we have also looked internationally for useful lessons and alternative models, publishing case studies on experience in Scotland, Ireland and Australia. Today we publish our final report on the coalition in year five, as well as a report on pre-election contact with the Opposition. Challenges of the final year In the pre-election period – as at any other time – the Civil Service must maintain a clear divide between government and party business, with officials barred from tasks such as manifesto writing. In a single-party administration, however, officials […]

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