Publication Devolution Machinery of government 29 September, 2022

Reimagining Whitehall: an essay

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To tackle current crises and prepare for future challenges, a more diverse, dynamic, and decentralised government machine will be needed.

This essay sets out an account of why Whitehall has tended to underperform, and why reform efforts have so often stalled. It identifies three biases which lead central government and the key players within it to centrally hoard power, behave bureaucratically, and gravitate toward a single, shared mindset.

If the goal is nimble, capable, diverse, and outcomes-focused government, a successful programme of reform must address every aspect of the system: it must wholly reimagine Whitehall.