Dealing with Ulster’s Sir Humphreys’

Over the past decade many public insitutions have been subject to significant changes by the political process, however, apart from intermittent devolution the Northern Ireland Civil Service has been largely immune from reform and accountability (apart from Treasury-driven re-jigging). IPPR research among senior politicians and permanent secretaries highlights again the lack of departmental/policy/issue specialism (leading to the use of outside consultants) and a lack of accountability at senior levels as fundamental flaws with the present systems. Could the present talks be used to shake up the NICS and make it a model for reform throughout the UK? Could a shake-up help it address the NICS’s culture of ‘managing’ our problems to tackling them?

  • na


    The top levels of our civil service, which prevented implementation of reflective/electoral change/will during the short tenure of elected governance in the north and have now receded further to type under direct rule should be removed. A new Assembly should remove anyone above a Grade 6 in future, as biased and reflective of Whitehall parochialism. IMHO.

  • aquifer

    People give off about the EU Bureaucracy, but it is actually quite small by comparison with national systems, and gets by by employing people in specialist areas for longer periods so that they understand issues better.

    There is a real danger that outside consultancy is being used by senior civil servants to provide a verbal smokescreen for dodgy initiatives.

    Which consultant will bite the hand that feeds?

  • Moochin photoman

    @£500+ a day? None of them

  • Greenflag

    ‘Which consultant will bite the hand that feeds? ‘

    Those who can – Do .

    Those who can’t do – Teach

    Those who can’t do and can’t teach – Consult .