Britain’s top civil servant admitted that he agreed with the damning assessments of Whitehall’s failures by its former vaccines tsar.
Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, said mandarins do not have the ‘skills and experience’ needed to address the country’s biggest challenges.
Many civil service officials lack the ‘technical and specialist knowledge’ to effectively implement the government’s post-pandemic improvement plans, he wrote today.
In a letter to The Times, he said he agreed with Dame Kate Bingham, the mastermind of the Covid vaccine programme, who this warned earlier this week that civil service ‘groupthink’ is holding Britain back.
He said he wanted to see a complete overhaul of training for officials which would be geared towards supporting ‘greater innovation and creativity’.
Mr Case wrote: ‘Dame Kate Bingham is correct in her assessment of the lack of skills and experience in science, industry and manufacturing across government.
‘Her criticism is also one that the civil service has recognised itself. Improving our technical and specialist knowledge is at the heart of implementing our post-pandemic reform plans.’
Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, claimed that mandarins don’t have the “skills” and experience required to deal with the country’s greatest challenges.
The co-creator of Covid vaccine, Dame Kate Bingham warned this week that Britain is being held back by civil service groupthink.
M. Case suggested that civil servants need to have more experience beyond the Whitehall bubble. He also suggested that government should have “more Dame Kates”.
Paul Dacre was also the ex-editor of Daily Mail. He launched an equally vehement attack on last week’s civil service “blob”.
He called his application for the position an “infelicitous affair with the Blob”, claimed that only Left-wingers get top jobs in the public sector, and stated it was senior civil service employees, not elected politicians, who truly run the country.
Dame Kate, a venture capitalist appointed head of the vaccines taskforce last year, lashed out at the lack of quality of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet and the Civil Service in a major speech earlier this week.
According to the entrepreneur, the lack of scientific information among ministers and mandarins has left the country “woefully unprepared” for the virus. He also warned that the nation could face problems should it be confronted with another killer disease.
Speaking at Oxford University she said there was ‘a huge lack of relevant skills and experience’ in the PM’s relatively youthful Cabinet, citing its lack of experience in Stem (science technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.
Also, she lashed out against senior ex-ministers like Gordon Brown and David Cameron who left Parliament to give their experiences, rather than remain on the backbenches.
She gave the annual Romanes lecture at the University.
She said that the problem was the lack of knowledge by the departments about commercial biosciences and the technical science required for operational effectiveness.
The US France and Germany have lower percentages of stem-related background than Germany.
“Nor is there a better situation among senior officials. Three permanent secretaries, those who are the highest ranking civil servants responsible for running the departments of government, were the only ones I could identify. They all have Stem degrees. The group is heavily dominated by economists and historians. It seems that very few members have been outside Whitehall.
She attacked the “culture of Civil Service” and said that she saw an almost obsessional desire in officials to keep any criticism or suggestion of error from me. A paranoia over media handling and public reaction.
“This resulted in groupthink and a huge aversion towards risk, which in turn slowed innovation and the speed of execution.