A Change of Government

The future of Britain's Civil Services has been at the forefront of recent political debate. The Efficiency Unit's report, 'Improving Management in Government: The Next Steps', has put forward an important series of changes to the way in which the central bureaucracy functions. The report represents the latest  in a series of initiatives since 1979 aimed at improving the efficiency of government. Such initiatives are so far estimated to have saved the British taxpayer a total of £1.3 billion, at its maximum only £325 million per year. This report argues that such savings, important as they are, pale into insignificance when compared to the £164.8 billion spent by government in 1986/87. There must be more fundamental change in the way that Britain is governed if public expenditure is to be more than tamed. The Efficiency Unit's report offers an exciting opportunity for such change. An Inter-Departmental review should be conducted of all responsibilities and services carried out by departments. Departments should be rationalized and made to reflect today's society rather than the dreams of the early 1970s. The range of advice to ministers should be broadened and the whole question of political appointees must be re-examined.  

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