Government reform

Think tank: Institute for Government

Author(s): Bronwen Maddox; Alex Thomas

June 15, 2021

This report from UK think tank the Institute for Government looks at the Declaration on Government Reform.

Michael Gove has set out a new plan for reforming the civil service – and wider questions of how government works – that could lead to extensive changes. The Declaration on Government Reform was published in the name of the prime minister and cabinet secretary, Simon Case, showing that this has the full weight of the government behind it. Gove, in his role as chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, backing up Boris Johnson in running the machine of government, has however been one of the driving forces. It is, by the standards of these things, refreshingly brief with eight pages of text followed by 30 short action points. However its success must be judged by how long the momentum for reform lasts, whether senior political attention persists – including whether Gove stays in a key post able to give this momentum – and how much change really happens over the coming years. This paper looks at what the Declaration on Government Reform gets right – and what it misses.