I noted recently the excellent machinery of government publication by the Institute for Government. The report notes the problems that senior civil servants face when changes to government departments are made, including a lack of funding to support the changes and the doubling in workload it often means for such civil servants.

It was pleasing to note that one of the proposed solutions to support machinery of government changes was for “new and radically changed departments [to] receive more support from the centre”:

The Cabinet Office and Treasury need to improve their procedures and capabilities to provide more positive support for new or heavily reorganised departments. The Cabinet Office should create a capacity to provide a ‘scratch team’ to run a new department’s core responsiveness operations for a transition period. The Cabinet Office should recognise that the reorganisation of departments is a vital task that is likely to recur reasonably frequently, and should henceforth be properly documented and continuously improved over time – instead of the current situation where experience resets to zero in each new case.

Whilst being appropriately modest, we made a similar suggestion here a few months ago for a quango merger quango, or NDPBMNDPB for short, which could be:

Some form of team or body within central government that can advise or lead the process of mergers within the public sector.

There’s no reason why such a team can’t also help with government departments, so it could become the Non-Departmental Public Body for the Merger or Reorganisation of Non-Departmental Public Bodies and Government Departments (or NDPBMRNDPBGD for short).


Rearranging Whitehall

Rearranging Whitehall

For those of us who take a particular interest in this sort of thing, Public Strategist’s post on changing Whitehall is fascinating. (The image above is taken from that post, which details all permissions etc.)

Their conclusion is excellent:

So now we know where we have been and where we are going. Nothing can possibly go wrong.

For those who also take an interest in the machinery behind the machinery, the Institute for Government’s excellent publication on government changes notes the disruption such reorganisations cost.

If you’re into this sort of thing – and I, for one, cannot see how you possibly couldn’t be – it’s well worth a read.