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Article September 27th, 2020
Legitimacy • Innovation

BBC Westminster Hour: Civil service shake-up: Rewiring the government machine or blowing a fuse?

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Bridget Nurre Jennions, Centre for Public Impact

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BBC Westminster Hour: Civil service shake-up: Rewiring the government machine or blowing a fuse?

Nadine Smith spoke to BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour about ministerial plans to reform the UK Civil Service by moving it out of London, warning that one-off measures won't be enough to bridge the gap between citizens and government.

Read the full BBC report.

Listen to the interview on Westminster Hour.

The Centre for Public Impact (CPI) · Westminster Hour: Civil service shake-up: Rewiring the government machine or blowing a fuse?


Former civil servant Nadine Smith, who now runs the UK branch of the research company the Centre for Public Impact, thinks Mr Gove's plans hold "real promise". She believes there's an acceptance that the coronavirus crisis has uncovered issues in the sometimes fragmented way the civil service functions.

"Certainly most civil servants do want to see a Whitehall that is really fit for our times, has the expertise, is connected and co-ordinated and most people understand the need for a strong centre of government at this time too," she says. "I do think however that more thought perhaps needs to go into how Whitehall can ensure that it doesn't hold on to all the expertise, so that expertise is shared across the rest of government."


Nadine Smith says some regions of the UK are feeling neglected by Westminster-centric politics, but warns against a simple solution. "I personally don't believe that moving civil servants out of London, on its own as a measure, will be enough to solve the problem of the gap that exists between communities, public sector, local government and central government. Moving civil servants into parts of the country must be seen as a welcome move from government, rather than it being seen, which is potentially a danger, as Whitehall moving in to the rest of the country."


About the Centre for Public Impact

The Centre for Public Impact is a not-for-profit founded by Boston Consulting Group. Believing that governments can and want to do better for people, we work side-by-side with governments—and all those who help them—to reimagine government, and turn ideas into action, to bring about better outcomes for everyone. We champion public servants and other changemakers who are leading this charge and develop the tools and resources they need, like our Public Impact Fundamentals, so we can build the future of government together.

Written by:

Nadine Smith Founder & CEO, Nadine Smith Consulting
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Bridget Nurre Jennions Former Global Director of Communications
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