Published on 31 March 2023
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Constitution Committee questions policy professor on the appointment and dismissal of permanent secretaries

On Wednesday 29 March 2023, Dennis C. Grube, Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the Bennett Institute, gave evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee on the appointment and dismissal arrangements for permanent secretaries. 

The key policy recommendations put to the committee were:

  • To consider ways of strengthening bi-partisan support for key civil service appointments. For example, by looking to other jurisdictions where key posts require the endorsement of a vote of parliament.

  • To clarify rules and processes around when and how permanent secretaries can be dismissed;

  • To consider whether the increasingly public nature of the work of permanent secretaries is exposing them to perceptions of politicisation for simply fulfilling their role.

“The Civil Service of the nineteenth century was built for governing in private, and in the twenty first century we are asking it to now govern in public. This creates new pressures and challenges for permanent secretaries as they navigate the often rancourous, politically contested public square of modern policymaking.”

Dennis C. Grube, Professor of Public Policy, Bennett Institute for Public Policy

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

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