Magazine article Public Finance

Blair Urged to Get off the 'Sofa' and Consult on Policies

Magazine article Public Finance

Blair Urged to Get off the 'Sofa' and Consult on Policies

Article excerpt

FDA general secretary Jonathan Baume has called on Prime Minister Tony Blair to end sofa government' and restore the tradition of extensive policy consultation with the civil service during Labour s third term.

Opening the FDA's annual conference, Baume called for the restoration of effective Cabinet government'. He argued that Labours large second-term parliamentary majority led to an 'unwillingness' to embrace traditional civil service skills, such as coherent policy-making, which in turn helped to 'weaken the government's effectiveness'.

FDA members, many of them senior Whitehall staff, have raised concerns about Blair's informal policy-making processes, a style that led critics to coin the term sofa government'. Baume said that the government had seemed to relish confrontation with public servants, rather than attempting to win support through dialogue and involvement. He added that it had paid the price through a vastly reduced majority. …

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