Dave Richards

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    The lessons of Tony Benn as a Cabinet Minister: Breaking the rules and paying the price

The lessons of Tony Benn as a Cabinet Minister: Breaking the rules and paying the price

Tony Benn’s legacy has been discussed extensively in the wake of his passing. However, little has been said about his time in government, where it could be argued that he failed to fully use the opportunities available to him. Dave Richards and Martin Smith argue that Benn may have had a radical vision, but he also demonstrated strategic naivety […]

The re-glazed glass ceiling: After a decade of concerted progress the lack of diversity in Whitehall is again in the headlines

Only two years ago people were talking of a ‘smashed glass ceiling’ in relation to women’s representation in Whitehall. But female representation has stalled since 2010 as a result of austerity and the failure to prioritise the diversity agenda in recruitment. Daniel Fitzpatrick, Claire Annesley, Francesca Gains and Dave Richards argue that if gender equality in the Senior Civil Service […]

The Universal Credit fiasco shows that we need a new model of Ministerial accountability

The Government’s Universal Credit scheme looks to be unravelling, with the Public Accounts Committee recently levelling a series of withering criticisms at the Department for Work and Pensions. Dave Richards and Martin Smith argue that the Secretary of State’s decision to pin the blame for these failures on his departmental officials marks the culmination of a long term blurring of established lines of accountability. […]

IPPR’s report on the civil service starts a useful debate, but needs a much more informed and critical examination

Dave Richards and Martin Smith find the recent IPPR report, which recommended how to improve the accountability and performance of the UK civil service, to be weak on several counts. Its key recommendation of greater political (ministerial) involvement in senior appointments would effectively undermine the independence that the report states should be balanced with responsiveness. It also does not actually review the […]

Politicians often claim commitment to decentralising the state, but once in government they are unwilling to relinquish their own power

The nature of the British political system is such that Westminster is a bastion of concentrated power. Martin Smith, Dave Richards and Patrick Diamond argue that whilst politicians may actually call for more localism, they are loath to give up their own power. Any government’s commitment to localism and devolution is undermined where there is no willingness to entertain a new vision of British […]