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Permanent secretaries to have fixed five-year contracts

Civil servants will report directly to ministers, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude is to announce in a bid to speed up civil service reform.

In a speech later today, he will set out proposed changes to newly appointed permanent secretaries. They will be appointed on fixed tenure appointments of five years. Extended ministerial offices will comprise a mix of appointed civil servants and special advisors.

The changes follow recommendations from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and a report from the Institute for Government.

The IPPR report said: “There should be a clear and transparent right for each secretary of state to request the appointment of a small number of expert advisers outside of ordinary civil service recruitment processes. These expert advisers should have clearly defined roles relating to advice to the minister on policy, implementation and strategy (drawing on the wider expertise of the department), and to monitoring the delivery of ministerial priorities.

“In comparative terms UK ministers have relatively little direct support to draw on to enable them to do their jobs effectively.

“Political appointees would not be able to formally direct civil servants. However, the office would be integrated and made to cohere by virtue of the fact that all staff would be personal appointments of the minister.”

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