Civil Service chief Simon Case says he AGREES with vaccines tsar Kate Bingham’s Whitehall criticism

Civil Service chief Simon Case says he AGREES with vaccines tsar Kate Bingham after her damning criticism of ‘group think and risk aversion’ in Whitehall with his own attack on the ‘skills and experience’ of mandarins

Britain’s most senior civil servant has admitted he agrees with a damning assessment of Whitehall’s failings made by the Government’s former vaccines tsar.

Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, said mandarins do not have the ‘skills and experience’ needed to address the country’s biggest challenges.

Many civil service officials lack the ‘technical and specialist knowledge’ to effectively implement the government’s post-pandemic improvement plans, he wrote today.

In a letter to The Times, he said he agreed with Dame Kate Bingham, the mastermind of the Covid vaccine programme, who this warned earlier this week that civil service ‘groupthink’ is holding Britain back. 

He said he wanted to see a complete overhaul of training for officials which would be geared towards supporting ‘greater innovation and creativity’.

Mr Case wrote: ‘Dame Kate Bingham is correct in her assessment of the lack of skills and experience in science, industry and manufacturing across government.

‘Her criticism is also one that the civil service has recognised itself. Improving our technical and specialist knowledge is at the heart of implementing our post-pandemic reform plans.’

Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, said mandarins do not have the ‘skills and experience’ needed to address the country’s biggest challenges.

Dame Kate Bingham, the mastermind of the Covid vaccine programme, warned earlier this week that civil service civil service 'groupthink' is holding Britain back

Dame Kate Bingham, the mastermind of the Covid vaccine programme, warned earlier this week that civil service civil service ‘groupthink’ is holding Britain back

Civil servants should also get more experience outside of the Whitehall bubble, Mr Case argued, saying that Government should have ‘more Dame Kates’.

The former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre also mounted a withering attack on the civil service ‘blob’ last week.

He described his experience of applying for the role as an ‘infelicitous dalliance with the Blob’, claimed that only Left-wingers are given top public sector jobs and said it was senior civil servants ‘not elected politicians, who really run this country’.

Dame Kate, a venture capitalist appointed head of the vaccines taskforce last year, lashed out at the lack of quality of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet and the Civil Service in a major speech earlier this week.

The entrepreneur warned the lack of scientific knowledge among mandarins and ministers had left the country ‘woefully unprepared’ for the virus and risked causing problems if the country is faced with a new killer disease.

Speaking at Oxford University she said there was  ‘a huge lack of relevant skills and experience’ in the PM’s relatively youthful Cabinet, citing its lack of experience in Stem (science technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

She also lashed out at senior former ministers who, like David Cameron and Gordon Brown, have left Parliament instead of remaining on the backbenches to offer their experience.

Giving the university’s annual Romanes lecture, she criticised civil servants for relying too much on ‘hired guns’ – contractors brought in to offer expertise – instead of building the skills internally. 

‘The problem was that the departments lacked knowledge of the commercial biosciences landscape and lack the science and technical understanding needed to be operationally effective,’ she said.  

‘Less than 10 per cent of fast track civil servants have background in stem, lower than US France and Germany.

‘Nor is the situation better among the most senior officials. I have only been able to identify three permanent secretaries – the senior civil servants who run the government departments – with Stem degrees. This is a group dominated by historians and economists, few of whom it seems have ever worked outside Whitehall.’

Attacking the ‘culture of the Civil Service’ she said: ‘While I was in post I saw an almost obsessive desire among officials to avoid any suggestion of personal error or scope for criticism. And a concern amounting to paranoia about media handling and the possible public reaction.

‘This created groupthink and an massive aversion to risk which in turn held back innovation and the pace of execution.’   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *