Former permanent secretary claims Wilsons reforms do not go far enough

2 Mar 00
The recent reforms proposed by Sir Richard Wilson, the head of the civil service, are 'self-indulgent' and take no account of cost, according to a leading former civil servant.

03 March 2000

Sir Peter Kemp, the former second permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office, told a conference this week that Sir Richard's reforms do not go far enough. They make no distinction between the policy-making and delivery roles of the civil service.

'Wilson's is, I fear, a recentralising sort of agenda,' said Kemp. It was not conducive to getting the best out of the British economy or better delivery of public services, he added.

Sir Peter told Public Finance that Sir Richard was 'going backwards' and was confused by his twin roles of Cabinet Secretary and head of the civil service. 'As Cabinet Secretary he should go to the prime minister and say: "Hey, listen, this machine has been misformed". But, as head of the civil service, he has a duty to look after the jobs, health and pay of his staff.'

Sir Peter told the conference, organised by business services company CSL, that the core civil service should be reduced to 50,000 policy makers supported by a peripheral layer of contractors who could be from either the public or the private sector.


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