Whitehall Monitor 2020

This report from the UK think tank the Institute for Government is the seventh annual Whitehall Monitor, which collects and analyses data on Whitehall.

Continued turnover of ministers and civil servants could disrupt the delivery of government projects and policies. Civil servants continue to move around too often. Turnover has risen at five departments over the past year, and senior civil servants move roles, on average, every two years. This is especially true in terms of Brexit, with 10 senior civil servants in charge of Brexit, including permanent secretaries, changing roles in 2019. Three quarters of all ministers have only come into post since July 2019, with more than half of all special advisers (SpAds) entering government for the first time in the last 12 months. This rate and scale of turnover risks losing expertise and absorbing energy as ministers and departments alike take time to adjust to new roles and colleagues. The latest figures underline concerns raised by the prime minister’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, and one of the authors of the Conservative election manifesto, Rachel Wolf. This is the seventh annual Whitehall Monitor which collects and analyses data to enable those running government to be more effective and help Parliament and the public hold them to account.

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