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David Blunkett
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Post David Blunkett 
Attached is an article from the BBC News on line. What he is saying here applies equally to the Civil Servants involved in our fight.
Blunkett blast at civil service

Mr Blunkett voiced his frustration about parts of the civil service
Democracy will be damaged unless the civil service shapes up for the modern age, David Blunkett has told MPs.
The former home secretary said he had worked with excellent civil servants but had also said the structures did not live up to public expectations.

He and ex-Tory home secretary Michael Howard were being questioned by the Commons public administration committee after the recent Home Office crises.

New Home Secretary John Reid says the department is "unfit for purpose".

Mr Blunkett said he understood what Mr Reid meant, although he did not like the phrase.

Confidence fears

The former home secretary said fundamental changes had to be made in the next five years.

The civil service did not match the modernisation and reform seen in the private sector and had not taken enough account of new technology and globalisation, he said.

"Unless the civil service are able to do that in underpinning some of the delivery, often at arms length and with clear lines of accountability, we will have this drip, drip corrosion of the confidence in what it is that government at any level does to the point where democracy is damaged," he said.

"People cease to vote, they cease to be engaged, the media is full of the worst possible stories about 'our service does not work' and experience then is coloured by the culture around them."

'Not rocket science'

Looking back on his time as home secretary, Mr Blunkett said he wished he had set up a monitoring unit within the department to check that objectives he had set were being delivered.

But he also said the Home Office, of all departments, had the biggest problems to deal with in government.

There were "saints" in the Immigration and Nationality Department, as well as people who would rather not be there, he said.

Mr Howard said getting the best out of the civil service was not "rocket science".

Ministers had to show strong political leadership, be clear about what they wanted and monitor that it was being done.

"If you do that the civil service will respond and will give you what you want," said the former Tory leader.

But pointing at Tony Blair's government, he said civil servants would concentrate on providing "eye catching initiatives" and grabbing headlines, if that was ministers' priority.

That would come at the expense of the "grind of

Gerald Law (ex RAF Borneo Veteran)
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Post David Blunkett 
I have sent his to David Blunkett and Michael Howard in response to what they said in Select Committee last week.
Civil Service

Dear Mr Blunkett

I was interested to read your comments concerning the current state of the Civil Service in your presentation to the Select Committee last week. For most of my life (I am approaching the age of 62) I believed that this country was run by the elected representatives. The rôle of the Civil Service I understood was to advise Ministers in their deliberations, to carry out research and to present facts so that the Ministers should be in the best position to make the necessary decision.

The television comedy series “Yes Minister” and “Yes Prime Minister” I saw as parodies on a subjective view of the workings of Parliament. But no more. It is blatantly obvious that all decisions are made by the “Sir Humphreys” of this world and that the duty of Ministers is to “rubber stamp” those decisions. Only such a procedure could explain why the Home Office, the MoD and other departments are in meltdown.

This impression has been reinforced by my recent experiences with the Honours and Decorations Committee and the farcical decision that British veterans of the Malaya/Borneo Campaigns may accept, but not wear, the Pingat Jasa Malaysia awarded to them by the Malaysian King and government.

All communications to the recent holders of the posts of Defence Minister and Veteran’s Minister have elicited the same response – “not a MoD matter, contact the FCO”. The FCO deny any powers to influence the decision as it is a matter purely for the HD Committee. Now this Committee is made up entirely of Civil Servants and they assert that they have no requirement to publish their deliberations, or to justify their decisions to those affected by them.

Those Civil Servants who are apparently in a position to respond only re-iterate the same old rhetoric that they are bound by “long standing rules of double medalling, or of a five year period after the event being acknowledged” and “must not prejudice the integrity of the system”. They are, however, unable or unwilling to quote the Statutes upon which they base their decisions. This is probably because no such Statute Law exists. The rules are made up by Civil Servants as they go along to suit their own political agenda at that time. It is obvious that this is the case as it is the only logical explanation for what is a totally illogical decision. Illogical and mean-spirited.

We hear a lot from politicians about honouring our veterans, but behind the façade of the sound bite and photo opportunity, the Civil Servants are pursuing their own agenda and it has nothing to with honour. In a 21st century democracy it is an iniquity that those no longer wearing the uniform of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces should have their rights to such an award subject to the whims of a group of people who are accountable to none. It is time to examine the workings of the Civil Service.
Only this week we learned of a newspaper advertisement from the Health Service that asked for applicants to run what are, effectively, privatised aspects of the health service. On yesterday’s Today programme the Minister went to great lengths to deny the content of the advertisement saying that it had been withdrawn and had not been authorised for publication. So was this another case of a Civil Servant assuming powers that he did not possess? And if so, can we expect to see someone sacked for this blatant misuse of his/her position?

Gerald Law (ex RAF Borneo Veteran)
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