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Is it still ‘Yes, Minister’ in Whitehall? MPs to examine relations between government and Civil Service

17 November 2023

Recent years have seen governments become increasingly vocal in their criticisms of the Civil Service, with the Brexit process and the Covid-19 pandemic exposing heightened tensions.

While a fundamental principle of the Civil Service is that it exists to serve the government of the day, the proliferation of attacks on the Civil Service and on individual civil servants, in public, by Ministers, SpAds and backbench MPs have called into question the efficacy of the Westminster Model.  

In an evidence session on Tuesday, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee will question representatives from the Institute for Government and Reform, two think tanks with track records of research and analysis on the Civil Service. 

The cross-party group of MPs will interrogate the leadership role of the Cabinet Secretary, whether the current Civil Service leadership model requires reform, and whether Ministers should be allowed a greater level of involvement in some civil service appointments. Several of these issues were raised by Lord Maude in his recently published Independent Review of Governance and Accountability in the Civil Service.  

MPs will also enquire into how the current state of the Civil Service affects its ability to conduct long term planning and whether the existing model is conducive to supporting effective government.  


Panel 1: 

  • Dr Hannah White OBE, Director at Institute for Government
  • Alex Thomas, Programme Director at Institute for Government

Panel 2 

  • Charlotte Pickles, Director at Reform

Further information