Civil servants have been warned that they are “woefully unprepared” for the sweeping reforms of Whitehall being prepared by the prime minister and his special adviser, Dominic Cummings.
Officials could be made to take regular exams to prove that they are up to their Whitehall jobs under “seismic” changes being planned by No 10, Rachel Wolf, who helped draw up Boris Johnson’s election-winning manifesto, has said.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Wolf said reported plans for merging, creating or abolishing departments were just a “tiny fraction” of the changes set to be implemented.
Wolf said the changes, set to begin in the spring, after the UK’s due date for leaving the EU, would end the “merry-go-round” of officials changing jobs every 18 months. But she dismissed suggestions that the civil service would be “politicised” under the reforms that Cummings is likely to have a big influence over.
Wolf said Johnson wanted to run “the most dynamic state in the world”. She added that one of the biggest changes was likely to be in the area of Whitehall recruitment and training.
Wolf stated that anyone staying in the same job for longer than 18 months is currently seen to have “stalled” in a culture that ensures “everyone rises to their position of incompetence”. She also predicts that civil servants will be “reoriented to the public” rather than “stakeholders”.
Many officials “cannot believe the prime minister and Dominic Cummings mean business”, she writes, and that “as a result, they seem woefully unprepared for what is coming”.