26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: PS warned to keep pace with IT

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Departing Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Public Service, Sir John Manzoni (pictured) has warned that the Government must keep up with the pace of technological change or risk failing to meet citizens’ expectations.

In a parting email message, Sir John said he would be staying on as an adviser “to provide support through this difficult period”.

“So long as there is technological change, citizens’ expectations will continue to increase, and we must find faster, easier, cheaper ways of meeting them,” Sir John said.

“We must continue to transform our own organisation also, especially if we are to realise our diversity and inclusion ambitions — particularly in the senior echelons.”

He said one of the most significant events during his time as Whitehall Chief Executive was the implementation of the functional model that was rolled out five years ago.

“The establishment and centralised management of 12 cross-Government functions, including property, commercial, and analysis, has formed an indelible bond between policy and delivery,” Sir John said.

He said the Government’s recruitment, training and assessment of staff had also been changed, “so that we ensure the right diversity of skills and experience to complement the policy expertise inherent to our organisation”.

“This has allowed the Civil Service to build a pipeline of talent which will see people from commercial, digital, data and technology, and project management fast streams reach the senior Civil Service in a few years,” Sir John said.

“Together, these changes will have a profound and lasting impact on the Civil Service.”

His successor is Alex Chisholm, previously Permanent Secretary of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

London, 18 April, 2020

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