Whitehall wisdom: the great and the good on the civil service (Vol. 1)
CSW's handy compendium of views expressed about the civil service through the years
“What the civil service wants – and I always compare it to a rather stupid dog – [is] to do what its master wants... It wants to be loyal to its master and above all it wants to be loved for doing that.”
The then-perm sec of the Department for Transport Sir Richard Mottram shares his views on the civil service mentality with the Public Administration Select Committee in 2002
“Admission into the civil service is indeed eagerly sought after, but it is for the unambitious, and the indolent or incapable, that it is chiefly desired.”
The Northcote-Trevelyan report – which catalysed the development of the apolitical UK civil service – assesses the state of Whitehall in 1854
“The minister exists to tell the civil servant what the public will not stand.”
The 19th century Liberal politician Sir William Harcourt neatly summarises the different roles of ministers and civil servants
Visit Martin Stanley’s civilservant.org.uk for more humorous quotations and helpful information
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