Responding to a flurry of reports on civil service appointments and accountability – including the government-commissioned IPPR report, released last week – Normington said any reforms must “create a more effective civil service, particularly at the top”; not “put at risk political impartiality”; and gather “wide political and public support”, creating “as broad a consensus as possible”.
The IPPR report argues that permanent secretaries should be picked from a Civil Service Commission (CSC) shortlist by the prime minister – rather than, as now, being selected by the CSC subject to a PM veto. It also recommends that perm secs be given four-year, fixed-term contracts – though Maude, speaking at a Public Administration Select Committee session on Monday, said he couldn’t go quite that far.
Speaking in an interview with CSW, IPPR report author Guy Lodge denied that his recommendations would politicise the civil service or weaken management continuity.
Opinion: Sir David Normington
Interview: Guy Lodge on his report for the IPPR
News: Maude backs fixed tenure plan