The Haldane Report, which sees its centenary this year, was a landmark in early twentieth century thought about how the machinery of modern government should function, the principles that should underpin policy formation, and executive accountability. It famously concluded that: 'in the sphere of civil government the duty of investigation and thought, as preliminary to action, might with great advantage be more definitely recognised.' The report also proposed that Whitehall departments be organised on functional lines; it advocated limited changes in the direction of gender equality within the Civil Service; and tentatively suggested the introduction of specialist committees in Parliament to facilitate more effective oversight of the executive.
This is a unique opportunity for historians and practitioners, past and present, to reflect together on how reform comes about in government and how it works - there will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion. Drinks and refreshments will be served. This is one of a series of Whitehall Anniversary events in 2018 – previous events, with audio available, have focussed on the Next Steps Report (1988) and the Fulton Report (1968).
Speaker: Professor Vernon Bogdanor is Research Professor at the Centre for British Politics and Government at King’s College London. As one of Britain’s foremost constitutional experts he has written widely on British politics and the constitution and frequently advised governments and parliamentary bodies.
Respondent: Robin Butler, Baron Butler of Brockwell. In his forty-year career, Lord Butler has served as Private Secretary to five Prime Ministers and was Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service from 1988 to 1998. In addition to the many momentous political shifts in that time he has overseen an important period of change in the history of the Civil Service and its relationship to the wider world.
Chair: Dr Catherine Haddon, Senior Fellow and Resident Historian at the Institute for Government. Dr Haddon specialises in the history of Whitehall and the evolution of civil service reform.
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