Committee hears evidence on the state of the Government

11 March 2010

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) is holding an evidence session into the 'State of the Government'. Watch live from 10am.


  • Lord Sainsbury of Turville
  • Sir Richard Mottram
  • Jonathan Baume, General Secretary FDA union of senior civil servants.

The session will explore criticisms that all three witnesses (or the organisations they are associated with) have made in recent months about the quality of government, based in large part on their analysis of long-standing problems with the way that the British Government works.

  • The Institute for Government, founded and chaired by Lord Sainsbury, has criticised what it sees as a "gap at the centre of Whitehall—a conspicuous lack of a single coherent strategy for government as a whole". It has proposed greater powers for the Cabinet Office and for departmental boards so that the work of government can be better coordinated and guided by a clear strategic direction
  • The Better Government Initiative, of which Sir Richard Mottram is a member, is a group of eminent former senior civil servants including Lord Butler, Sir John Chilcot, Sir Christopher Foster and Sir Thomas Legg. It has been critical of the tendency toward 'sofa government' in recent years, and calls for rigorous processes to be put in place to promote more thorough and well-informed policy making
  • Jonathan Baume has attacked the "utterly dysfunctional" way in which the centre of government currently works, arguing that unclear and confused decision making in Downing Street has paralysed government.

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