Chapter 15

Assessing Ministers and Civil Servants

In This Chapter

arrow Looking at government departments

arrow Seeing who ranks where

arrow Understanding the civil service

arrow Working up to senior civil servants

arrow Evaluating the pros and cons of the civil service

arrow Considering changes and reforms

As far as many politicians are concerned, the classic TV sitcom Yes Minister was more documentary than comedy because it laid bare the relationship between government ministers and their civil servants. The series showed a hapless government minister swimming against the tide of events and the machinations of his own senior civil servant, Sir Humphrey Appleby.

But despite the jaundiced eye many politicians cast towards their civil servants, one thing’s for sure: how ministers and civil servants work together is key to successful governance. Civil servants are the oil in the government machine that keeps the cogs ...

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