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History & Policy Event

Reforming the Civil Service: the Fulton Report, 50 years on

19 June 2018 - 18:00 pm - 19:30 pm

Room 2.03, Bush House (South Wing), King's College London, Strand WC2R 1ES

The Report of the Committee on the Civil Service, commissioned by the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson and chaired by Lord Fulton, appeared in June 1968. It was critical of the underlying philosophy of Whitehall, suggesting that the Civil Service operated as a “cult” of the generalist or amateur, that it lacked skilled managers, and overlooked scientists, engineers and other specialists for promotion. It made important recommendations for changes in the structure and practices of the Civil Service, some of which were implemented while others were not – and the themes it raised are still debated today. 

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. One of a series of Whitehall Anniversary events in 2018.

This event is the second in a 2018 series marking a number of anniversaries of key events in the history of the UK Civil Service, including also the Next Steps (1988) and Haldane (1918) Reports.

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History & Policy

Providing perspective on the Report and its impact and significance:

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.

Professor Kevin Theakston, Professor of British Government at the University of Leeds, and co-author of William Armstrong and British Policy Making (Palgrave Macmillan 2018). Armstrong was the inaugural head of the Civil Service Department, the establishment of which Fulton recommended, and was charged with implementing the Report.

Richard Wilson, Baron Wilson of Dinton is a crossbench peer and former Head of the Civil Service. His 36-year career there began in 1966 (the year the Fulton Committee began its deliberations) at the Board of Trade, and has included service in the Department of Energy, the Cabinet Office, the Department of the Environment and the Home Office before becoming Head of the Civil Service in 1998, a position he retired from in 2002.

Dr Andrew Blick, Director of H&P, will chair.


18:00 pm - 19:30 pm

Room 2.03, Bush House (South Wing), King's College London, Strand WC2R 1ES
Open to all
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