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posted 18 Oct 2014, 22:15 by Peter Webb   [ updated 2 Nov 2014, 08:10 ]

As of this month changes have been made that perhaps are now  set to tackle administratve breakdown, civil service incompetence, the perils of centralisation and need for decentralisation. Central government is unmanageable.

Sir Robert Kerslake is no longer Head of the Civil Service which role has passed to Sir Jeremy Heywood the Cabinet Secretary. The entirely new post of Chief Executive, responsible to the cabinet secretary but attending cabinet, is taken by John Manzoni (see google) formerly of BP and recently of the Major Projects Authority which this year sent the Universal Credit Scheme back to the drawing board. His pay package falls from c £1.4m to £190,000.

Voices in the wilderness have long understood that the machinery of government has broken down and £billions lost by government blunders. (The Blunders of our governments, King and Crewe). At root political leaders know what they want to achieve but not how. IT is common to many of the disasters due to over-ambition, lack of clear responsibilities and departure from simplicity; project planning and management skills have been absent; vast sums have been spent on consultants and ‘belt and braces’ contracts (28,000 pages in one case) in turn leading to virtual inoperability preceded by and then followed by vast expense on lawyers; organisation structures have been messy and feedback and financial controls weak.

 At the turn of the year the PASC (Public Administration Select Committee) put in a “brutal” report saying that civil service reform under the cabinet office and Rt Hon Francis Maude was “bound to fail”. It called for a Commission of both Houses to set up change by February 2015. That was over-ridden by the PM who confirmed Francis Maude’s responsibility.

 Comment: There is no specific mention in John Manzoni’s role of decentralization for which no operational systems exist or are contemplated except in the vague terms of “devolvement” and “devolution”. To loosen up still more the distribution of voted money without appropriate delegation and control systems with professionally led formally accountable local units would threaten new public finance disaster on top of the current deficits. That can lead to actual debt default with all the public misery which that brings on those rare occasions in history, and recently in southern Europe, when it has occurred. Governments are not very good at balancing the books - see what The Stag says about that here at .