Adonis: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall

Labour’s new advisor to the party's policy review on industrial strategy, Lord Adonis, tells Heather Spurr all is not well between Downing Street and Whitehall.

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Labour’s new advisor to the party’s policy review on industrial strategy, Lord Adonis, tells Heather Spurr all is not well between Downing Street and the mandarins

Lord Adonis this week warned Number 10 is in a “state of warfare” with Whitehall, just weeks before sweeping civil service reforms are announced by the government.

Lord-AdonisAdonis, appointed Labour’s industrial strategy adviser last week, said the government was becoming “deeply unpopular” in Whitehall because of its “anti-civil service rhetoric”, while ministers felt a “deep sense of frustration” with public officials.

The coalition is expected to announce far-reaching reforms to the civil service within the next month. It follows reports David Cameron’s former chief adviser Steve Hilton wanted to slash the number of civil servants by 90 per cent.

Adonis said:

“It’s not a good idea to have a state of warfare between the government and the civil service – which appears to be happening at the moment…

“The government is becoming deeply unpopular in Whitehall by its anti-civil service rhetoric and I deeply regret that because it’s possible to be in favour of civil service efficiency whilst also supporting the professionalism of the civil service.

“I deeply regret the attacks on civil service moral which are taking place at the moment. I don’t quite understand it either because at the end of the day, if the government wants its programme delivered, they need the civil service because no one else is going to do it.”

Until last January, the former transport secretary was head the Institute for Government, which seeks to improve efficiency in the civil service.

 


See also:

Top civil servant accused of being “SNP lacky” 4 May 2012

Forget Sugar, listen to Adonis – a man who knows a thing about transport 19 Apr 2012

Civil service complacency on black applicants is not good enough 17 Dec 2010


 

When asked why he thought hostility exists between Whitehall officials and government, Adonis answered:

“There is clearly a deep sense of frustration about how things are going in Whitehall at the moment – which the government holds. I don’t think it’s justified. I was a minister for five years, I worked in Whitehall for 12 and I was constantly impressed by the professionalism of the civil service.

“There’s a need to improve efficiency and that is taking place – but I’’s all the more important when you’re improving efficiency that you support the integrity and the professionalism of one of the best administrative systems in the world.”

Damaging civil service moral would have a negative impact on Whitehall, Adonis added, explaining the government “needs to demonstrate” further cuts “are not going to harm essential public services”.

Earlier this month, the Telegraph revealed civil servants will be “rated” on their performance at work as government ministers, from the prime minister down, grow increasingly frustrated with institutional failures.

 


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34 Responses to “Adonis: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall”

  1. BMetAlevelPolitics

    Adonis: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall: //t.co/l9H5pRgR – @HeatherSpurr reports

  2. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Adonis: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall //t.co/fB1u32HA

  3. Pulp Ark

    Adonis: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number… //t.co/xviKuQZL #CleanPolitics #civilservice #DavidCameron #muslim #tcot #sioa

  4. Heather Spurr

    Adonis: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall: //t.co/l9H5pRgR – @HeatherSpurr reports

  5. Michael

    Adonis: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall – //t.co/KzyTAy64

  6. Lord Blagger

    Damaging civil service moral would have a negative impact on Whitehall, Adonis added, explaining the government “needs to demonstrate” further cuts “are not going to harm essential public services”.

    ============

    Based on the Fantasy that the government isn’t broke.

    All those trillions owed in pensions, borrowing, PFI, guarantees. None of that is services.

    The civil servants are smart enough to realise that their pensions are kapput.

  7. Lord Blagger

    “needs to demonstrate” further cuts “are not going to harm essential public services”.

    ==========

    Meanwhile, in the real world, spending last quarter. Cut or increased?

    Ah yes, that annoying item, facts. Spending is up yet again.

  8. Blarg1987

    A guarentee does not neceesary mean the state has to pay i.e. parents being guarentors if mortgages for their kids etc.

    Most of the so called debt is worst case scenario assumption which it is right to assume but not necessarily accurate.

  9. Lord Blagger

    Agree. The figure for the liability under any guarantee is the present value of the expected losses. The sum insured will be much larger and doesn’t matter. Even that needs to be offset against the present value of any premiums that are paid. In the case of government guarantees for pensions etc, this is zero.

    You see the left also making this mistake with derivatives. Quoting the nominal figures, when the real money at risk is a fraction. Then on the money at risk for a given contract, you have to include any netting which reduces it drastically too. Then if you claim its bad for the economy, its hard because that is zero sum game.

    Likewise with pensions debts such as the state pension. You can’t extrapolate future payments, add them up and claim that’s the debt. You have to discount them to get the equivalent of debt, so you can compare against gilts, or any other debts. For a liability that means using the rate you expect the accrued debts to grow, and inflation if you have no assets. If you have assets, then you can offset by the present value of the assets, discounted using an asset rate.

    The government commits fraud here. For the civil service pensions, it doesn’t use the growth rate of liabilities it deliberately makes the debts smaller by fraudulently using an asset rate to discount, when it has no assets held against the debt.

  10. Anonymous

    Yes, to cover the damage which is being DONE to those services by cuts.

    If I spend 10 on A, and 10 on B one year, and 5 on A and 15 on B another year, A has had a cut. This is so simple a three-year old can understand it, but not a Tory like you.

  11. Anonymous

    Blah blah PENSIONS MUST DIE FOR THE 99%. Your campaign against pensions continues. It’s only “zero” if you end pensions.

    The fraud is yours.

  12. Rep in the Regions

    Cameron v the civil service … Can't think of bigger own goal given all else that's going wrong for him. //t.co/HC9j2y17

  13. Heather Spurr

    .@IsabelHardman My interview with Lord Adonis for Left Foot Forward – "state of warfare" between Govt and Whitehall //t.co/TattJfzv

  14. ThE MorON-MorMOn

    Lord Adonis "The government is becoming deeply unpopular in Whitehall by its anti-civil service rhetoric" //t.co/akuxxlvt

  15. Brian Tomkinson

    Cameron v the civil service … Can't think of bigger own goal given all else that's going wrong for him. //t.co/HC9j2y17

  16. Tom Green

    “Cameron v the civil service . //t.co/kpH3cUYx” FYI @paperingasmile i'd suggest saving reading it tho, today is not the day

  17. Beazers

    Cameron v the civil service … Can't think of bigger own goal given all else that's going wrong for him. //t.co/HC9j2y17

  18. Christopher Smith

    There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall //t.co/i0zBKWEy

  19. Thomson&Thompson

    Govt burning even more bridges? “@ChrisSmith1978: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall //t.co/YN8GfosE”

  20. cynicalbobby

    Govt burning even more bridges? “@ChrisSmith1978: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall //t.co/YN8GfosE”

  21. TheMoronMormon

    Superb Article – Didn’t Cameron’s Outgoing Chief Adviser / Austerity Worshiper Steve Hilton Want To Cut the Civil Service By A ‘Mere’ 70% Not 90& As Your Article States? >>> //www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9275702/Revealed-Civil-servants-get-extra-three-days-holiday-if-they-work-over-36-hours-a-week.html

  22. Mr. Sensible

    Well said, Newsbot9. The government often tries to compare the government budget to a household budget, but it does not work like that.

  23. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Adonis: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall //t.co/BIZd12hy

  24. Lord Blagger

    It does with one exception. They can always try printing cash. Doesn’t solve the pensions mess because they are linked to inflation. Print cash or QE, its the same thing and you hit some people who are forced to lend to government, but the other debts don’t go away.

    Since they are so large, [Prediction, you won’t list the debts and their sizes], its still going bust.

    e.g. 2 years on retirement age = 20,000 quid from a median wage earner. Stolen

  25. Anonymous

    Of course, your lot have stolen vast majority of the money from the productivity growth since the mid 70’s, funnelling it into capital rather than wages. That’s a *little* more than 20k over the years.

    You are working very very hard to steal people’s pensions so you won’t have to pay your share, still. Typical feral 1%.

  26. Andy Buck

    Cameron v the civil service … Can't think of bigger own goal given all else that's going wrong for him. //t.co/HC9j2y17

  27. GiftedPhoenix

    MT @Andrew_Adonis: Significant intervention: There's a state of warfare between Number 10 and Whitehall //t.co/vKxxFbLO via @Andy_Buck

  28. cameronsfollys

    Adonis: There’s a “state of warfare” between Number 10 and Whitehall //t.co/n4wbhQJE

  29. Awtanner

    The Telegraph revealed how civil servants will be ‘rated’ on their performance at work as government ministers, from the PM down, grow increasingly frustrated with ‘institutionalised failures’.

    The civil service admits it has over 40,000 poorly performing civil servants, knowing a little about public sector spin, I would guess the real figure to be around a 100,000.
    Are we going to see further billions wasted on useless ‘training providers’ who have learned the art of government contracting without producing the goods, improving ‘poor performing civil servents’ has always been a lost cause – training up public sector staff can be seen as a scam area.
    Get the inept out – and for gods sake introduce a better calibre of public servant, otherwise people will be taking to the streets as the ever-growing thousands of inept officials are guaranteed to get even larger.

  30. Anonymous

    Ah yes, the “real figures”, that those nurses and teachers are inherently evil, that statistics are wrong.

    Of course you oppose skills training, why, people might be able to command a decent salary with SKILLS. You’re trying to drive the better people out of government jobs with a culture of fear and poor pay and benefits, and you’ll then use that as an excuse to cut the social infrastructure further, rinse and repeat.

    Typical Tory, on board with the “fire 90% of public workers” bandwagon. People are not taking to the streets because of inefficient, top-down systems government systems which take 3 rather than 2 weeks to process something but because they’re no longer being able to afford to have a roof over their head and feed their kids – thanks to your policy.

  31. Awtanner

    You must try to control your party-hack hysteria – it stops you seeing the wood for the trees – we are in dire need of cleaning up managerial incompetence, along with poor performing civil servants, many of whom are promoted to high office paying themselves millions in unearned bonuses.
    If you are unaware of the many inept and fraudulent public sector officials, I suggest you do a little research.
    For your information I am sick of politics – it is the party hack who keeps the system going.

  32. Anonymous

    What party is that? I’m a left winger, no party speaks for me. (Moreover, I’m a mutualist, not a socialist)

    As usual, you’re engaging in a Tory, party-political war on the public sector, so you can line your pockets. At the same time, as you say you’re working very hard to undermine worker’s rights.

    And you call any resistance to your ideology as hysterical, in line with the anti-democratic approach…the usual, no more. You’re so typical of a Tory 1%’er it’s not even funny.

  33. Blarg1987

    There are always staff in all areas who are poorly performing, however to throw a spanner in the works, the people demand more accountability on public sector workers should things go wrong, so nurses now have to fill out large volumes of paperwork detailing what they have done with the patient, what medication they have given, how the patient loooed atc all in case the patient dies and people demand accountabiity.
    Meanwhile, people demand nurses spend more time with patients and their professeion is seem as lazy because they don’t.
    So which do people want? More accountability = less time with patients or more nurses or:
    Less accountability = exisitng staff have more time with patieents.

    I say this as an example of the flaw in the whole sytem of goverment that we as the electorate encouraged through a mixture of viting and through socities use of no win no fee lawyers.

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