A significant hollowing out of civil servants’ skills and loss of institutional memory threaten good governance, according to a select committee inquiry into Civil Service skills to which H&P gave evidence. The inquiry report concluded that costly policy failures are unavoidable if weaknesses in skills and training are not identified and improvements implemented.
H&P co-founder Professor Simon Szreter gave oral evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee inquiry and H&P submitted written evidence, both of which feature in the report, Developing Civil Service Skills: a unified approach, published on 17 March 2015.
…Simon Szreter, also told us that very few Civil Service departments have the right skills in place to ensure the maintenance of corporate memory. He reported that there is a ‘real
issue about historical understanding and training.’
The report proposes a new Leadership Academy and government-wide mechanism for learning from policy successes and failures.
Currently, H&P organises seminar series in HM Treasury and the Home Office as well as workshops with Civil Service Learning and the Treasury. The aim is to provide the origins and context of today’s policy problems and to help civil servants understand how, why and with what effect decisions were made in the past.
Listen to Professor Szreter’s evidence: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=16254
H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.
We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.