Implementing Change in a Clash of Cultures
Chapter 6: The Report: Discussion and Decisions
The 1987 election was over and the Conservative Government was returned to power. The Unit had taken precautionary measures in case a Labour Government was elected. Unoﬃcial discussions with the Labour Party had ‘indicated’ that Labour would want to continue the line on public service management taken by the previous administration. I had had a discussion with someone from the Leader of the Opposition’s oﬃce. I described what we were thinking about and what the Eﬃciency Unit was doing, without going into the details of the report. His view was that the Labour Party knew ‘something had to be done about the way the Government was run’, but had no clear policy. They felt the changes were broadly right but could say little because of the closeness of their relations with the Civil Service Unions. However, careful insurance proved unnecessary. The new administration returned to its old in-trays, the Civil Service returned to work after the relaxing interlude provided by a general election. Unused brieﬁng material put together for an ‘incoming administration’ was put aside and familiar issues reappeared. DISCUSSIONS: THE SENIOR OFFICIALS One of these issues was the report of the Eﬃciency Unit Scrutiny. Now titled Improving Management in Government: the Next Steps, it came surprisingly rapidly to the top of the Prime Minister’s pile. The discussion to persuade senior oﬃcials and ministers had to start. The Prime Minister was clear she would only move forward with her colleagues; they were clear they...
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