The Coming Revolution in Whitehall
Buenos Aires / January 3, 2020
Yesterday, Dominic Cummings posted an invitation on his blog to apply to join a team that wants to reform the British civil service (link). This initiative is the next logical step in Cummings' thinking after leaving the European Union. Cummings has been writing about reforming Whitehall for years.
Cummings has repeatedly complained that the civil service is overly bureaucratic, inefficient, and stiffles innovation. This is true in the vast majority of professional civil services around the world. The elected people tend to enter office with one set of priorities. They ask the civil service to implement on new goals. And the civil service has its own idiosyncratic ways of behavior that doesn't always align with the elected people.
For people who want to see government solve problems and deliver value for money, Cummings' project is very interesting. He wants the civil service to simplify decision making, be more adaptive, and execute on plans and projects even if they lack resources. In an ideal world, Cummings wants the civil service to operate like a startup. Also, Dom has the authority to force changes. He is a top adviser to Boris Johnson. Along with Matthew Elliott, Cummings was one of the key architects behind Vote Leave in 2016.
It is also worth stating the Cummings should treat civil servants with respect. But every career government employee in the United Kingdom should be prepared for changes.
If Cummings can successfully reform the British civil service, governments around the world will look to his example.