PM’s senior aide Dominic Cummings calls for civil service changes

Dominic Cummings Image copyright Getty Images

The PM’s senior adviser has called for changes to how government works, saying there are “profound problems” with how decisions are made.

In a blog post, Dominic Cummings said the civil service lacked people with “deep expertise in specific fields”.

He added that Brexit would require “large changes” in how policy decisions are made.

But a civil servants’ union said the recruitment of experts had been hampered by “pay restraint”.

In an unusual move, Mr Cummings also called for people keen to work in Downing Street to get in touch with him via a private Gmail address.

The former Vote Leave campaign director said he wanted to hear from “weirdos and misfits with odd skills”, some to work as special advisers and “perhaps some as officials”.

He said No 10 was keen to recruit “unusual” data scientists, software developers and economists to improve the performance of government.

Mr Cummings added that the Conservatives’ 80-seat majority meant ministers would try to solve political problems without worrying about “short-term unpopularity”.

“The point of this government is to do things differently and better and this always looks messy,” he wrote.

“We do not care about trying to ‘control the narrative’ and all that New Labour junk.”

He added that officials should be encouraged to stay in their roles for longer so that they are able to build up expertise in particular policy areas.

“Shuffling some people who are expected to be general managers is a natural thing but it is clear Whitehall does this too much,” he said.

“There are not enough people with deep expertise in specific fields.”

‘Pay restraint’ criticised

Responding to the blog, the FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, said Mr Cummings had not clarified how new recruits would be selected or what their role within government would be.

Dave Penman, the union’s general secretary, said: “Civil servants are recruited on merit, not patronage – a critical principle if they are to provide the best impartial advice to ministers.”

He also said senior officials moved between diff


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