9 May, 2024
8:30 am - 1:15 pm

Rt Hon John Glen MP, Dr Laura Gilbert, Sarah Munby

Reimagining Whitehall half-day conference

Whitehall, as the nucleus of government, is integral to how well the State operates: it is where priorities and budgets are set, policies are shaped and millions of decisions are made that directly impact public service delivery. It is therefore essential that the central government machine is resilient, agile and high performing.

Yet for decades, a consensus has built around the need for significant reform. From overcoming Whitehall’s siloed and short-termist tendencies, to building its capabilities through the adoption of data and technology and attracting the best talent, to inculcating a more innovative, entrepreneurial mindset, an incoming government must build a machine fit for the future.

In an era of crisis and global instability, with Britain facing significant demographic and technological change, Whitehall has a vital role to play in ensuring the nation can thrive.

Reform was delighted to host this flagship half-day conference exploring how an incoming government can reshape Whitehall, identifying the bold but practical steps needed to build a Whitehall that is capable of delivering.

Keynote address:

  • Rt Hon John Glen MP, Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office

Panel 1: An intelligent Whitehall: how AI can drive performance 

This panel drew together experts to discuss how AI and other leading technologies can make government smarter and more efficient, equipping Whitehall to better serve citizens.  

  • Dr Laura Gilbert, Chief Analyst, Director of Data Science, 10 Downing St
  • Simon King, Director, AI & Innovation, Department for Work and Pensions 
  • Mike Potter, Government Chief Digital Officer, Central Digital and Data Office 
  • Dr Zoe Webster, Director, Data and AI, BT

Panel 2: An entrepreneurial Whitehall: how government can embrace an innovation mindset 

This panel explored how Whitehall can adopt an innovation mindset to better meet public demand, boost productivity and improve outcomes.  

  • Sapana Agrawal, Director, Modernisation and Reform, Cabinet Office 
  • Thalia Baldwin, Director, Strategy and Innovation, Ministry of Justice
  • Frazer Bennett, Chief Innovation Officer, PA Consulting
  • Sarah Munby, Permanent Secretary, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

Please find Reform's brochure for the 'Reimagining Whitehall' conference, here: Reimagining Whitehall.

The conference was kindly supported by BT and PA Consulting.