Sir Bob Kerslake, the head of the civil service, added that civil servants are “having to do this very difficult double-act of both delivering a massive programme of reform in the country, and at the same time going through fundamental reform and change ourselves.” For that to succeed “we absolutely have to communicate with civil servants about what is happening”, he said, adding that CSW is “a vital way in which we can connect”.
The two were responding to CSW editor Matt Ross, who’d explained that the newspaper has gradually become “more testing of interviewees, more open about the challenges and tensions in the civil service, more challenging of things that our readers are concerned about.” He praised civil service leaders for not retreating “as CSW becomes a less safe, comfortable space.”
CSW “only works if two things apply. First, that it’s readable; and second, that it’s independent,” Kerslake replied. “And while that will mean some discomfort on occasions, for me that is a price well worth paying for a paper that’s a very powerful mechanism for communicating to civil servants.”