Reimagining Whitehall: an essay
Think tank: Reform
Author(s): Dr Simon Kaye
September 29, 2022
This essay from UK think tank Reform looks at why Whitehall has tended to underperform and why reform efforts have so often stalled.
To tackle current crises and prepare for future challenges, a more diverse, dynamic, and decentralised government machine will be needed. This essay sets out an account of why Whitehall has tended to underperform, and why reform efforts have so often stalled. It identifies three biases which lead central government and the key players within it to centrally hoard power, behave bureaucratically, and gravitate toward a single, shared mindset. If the goal is nimble, capable, diverse, and outcomes-focused government, a successful programme of reform must address every aspect of the system: it must wholly reimagine Whitehall.