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Civil Service Chief Simon Case says he agrees with Whitehall’s criticism of Czar Kate Bingham


Civil Service chief Simon Case says he approves of Kaiser vaccines Kate Bingham after her harsh criticism of Whitehall’s “groupthink and risk aversion” with his own attack on the “skills and experience” of seniors

  • Simon Kiss said that Mandarins do not have the necessary “skills and experience”
  • Kate Bingham said this week that the Civil Service’s “collective thinking” is holding Britain back
  • Case: ‘Its criticism is also that the civil service has recognized itself’










Britain’s top government employee has admitted he agrees with a damning assessment of Whitehall’s failings made by the government’s former vaccine czar.

Simon Case, Cabinet Secretary, said Mandarins do not have the “skills and experience” needed to meet the country’s biggest challenges.

Today he wrote that many civil servants lack the “technical and specialist knowledge” to effectively implement the government’s plans for post-pandemic improvement.

In a letter to The Times, he said he agreed with Dame Kate Bingham, the mastermind of the Covid vaccine programme, who warned earlier this week that a civil service ‘groupthink’ was hampering Britain’s progress.

He said he wanted to see a comprehensive reform of the training of officials that would be geared towards supporting “more innovation and creativity”.

Mr Case wrote: “Ms. Kate Bingham is correct in her assessment of the lack of skills and experience in science, industry and manufacturing across government.

Its criticism is also one that the civil service itself has acknowledged. Improving our technical and specialist knowledge is at the heart of implementing post-pandemic reform plans.

Simon Case, Cabinet Secretary, said Mandarins do not have the “skills and experience” needed to meet the country’s biggest challenges.

Dame Kate Bingham, the mastermind of the Covid vaccine programme, warned earlier this week that the Civil Service's 'Groupthink' is hampering Britain's progress.

Dame Kate Bingham, the mastermind of the Covid vaccine programme, warned earlier this week that the Civil Service’s ‘Groupthink’ is hampering Britain’s progress.

Case argued that civil servants should gain more experience outside the Whitehall bubble, saying the government should have “more of Mrs. Keats”.

Former Daily Mail editor Paul Ducker also launched a devastating attack on the civil service “point” last week.

Describing his experience applying for the position as “a futile foreplay with Blob”, he claimed that only leftists get top jobs in the public sector, and said that senior civil servants “are not elected politicians, they really run this country”.

Dam Kate, a venture capitalist who was appointed chair of the vaccine task force last year, criticized the cabinet and civil service under Boris Johnson’s lack of quality in a speech earlier this week.

The businessman warned of the lack of scientific knowledge among the elderly and ministers, leaving the country ‘totally unprepared’ for the virus and risking causing problems if the country faced a new deadly disease.

Speaking at Oxford University, she said there was a “significant lack of relevant skills and experience” in the cabinet’s relatively young cabinet, citing her lack of experience in STEM subjects.

She also criticized senior former ministers, such as David Cameron and Gordon Brown, for leaving Parliament rather than staying in the backbenches to showcase their experience.

While giving the university’s annual Romanes lecture, she criticized civil servants for relying too much on “guns for hire” – contractors brought in to provide expertise – rather than building skills internally.

“The problem was that departments lacked knowledge of the commercial bioscience landscape and lacked the necessary scientific and technical understanding to be operationally effective,” she said.

Fewer than 10 percent of fast-track civil servants have a background in the torso, lower than in the United States in France and Germany.

Nor is the situation better among senior officials. I was only able to identify three permanent secretaries – senior civil servants who run government departments – with Stem certifications. This is a group dominated by historians and economists, few of whom seem to have worked outside of Whitehall.

Attacking the “civil service culture,” she said, “When I was in office I saw an almost obsessive desire among officials to avoid any hint of personal error or room for criticism. A paranoid concern about dealing with the media and potential public reaction.”

“This has created group thinking and a significant aversion to risk which in turn has hampered innovation and the pace of implementation.”

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