John Bowers
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The Civil Service Commission
A few issues of decline and a few insidious features
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The Civil Service Commission’s primary job is to safeguard an impartial and effective civil service and to ensure appointments are made on merit. The Commission’s existence and role were enshrined in legislation in 2010. The spadocracy is an important element in the civil service’s ‘loss of mojo’, also known as the loss of the sense of being trusted by ministers. The relations between ministers and senior officials are often tense but may turn toxic (as was the case with Sir Philip Rutnam and Priti Patel at the Home Office). But past sporadic fallings-out are nothing compared with the wholesale warehouse clearance that took place in the early stages of the Johnson government. Another indicative feature of poor relationships is the increasing use of Ministerial Directions to direct civil servants. This use indicates that the politicians are not accepting the advice of civil servants.

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Downward spiral

Collapsing public standards and how to restore them


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