IFG - Whitehall Monitor 2019: Brexit impact being felt throughout government
The uncertainties of Brexit are causing serious disruptions across government and have distracted from the day to day business of government including the delivery of public services and management of major projects, a new report finds.
Published by the Institute for Government, the sixth annual Whitehall Monitor collects and analyses data to enable those running government to be more effective and help Parliament and the public hold them to account.
The report finds that:
- The demands of Brexit have reversed the recent shrinking of the civil service, from a post-war low of 384,260 in June 2016 to 404,160 in September 2018. This recruitment drive has reversed one in five of the job cuts between 2010 and the referendum.
- Minority government and Brexit have constrained the Government’s ability to pass legislation. Only five of the 13 bills which the Government has said it needs to pass ahead of Brexit have made it through Parliament.
- There have been an unprecedented number of ministerial resignations (21 in total from the election to the end of 2018) many of which can be attributed to Brexit. This means more than half of current Cabinet ministers and half of all ministers took on their role only in 2018.
- High levels of civil service turnover are proving both expensive - costing up to £74 million each year - and disruptive, as knowledge and expertise is lost. In the last year some departments – including the Treasury – lost two in every five of their civil servants either to other departments or to roles outside the civil service, partly due to Brexit.
- Civil servants across Whitehall have been redeployed to focus on Brexit, with a third of Treasury staff working on Brexit.
- The risk of major projects – of which there are currently 133 - not being delivered on time and on budget is growing. Less than a fifth of major projects are currently rated green (successful delivery is likely) or amber/green rating (successful delivery is probable), compared to almost half in 2013. HS2, meanwhile, is now rated amber/red (“major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas”).
- On the positive side, the last year has seen developments in the professional expertise of the civil service and the continued growth of digital public services, as well as impressive speed in hiring more people to work on Brexit.
Gavin Freeguard, Programme Director at the Institute for Government and author of the report, said:
“Two months before the UK’s scheduled departure from the European Union, British politics continues to be torn apart by Brexit. Government preparations for the UK’s exit have been impeded by political division.
“Despite the expansion of the civil service during 2018, many aspects of the day to day work of government – from managing major projects to delivering public services – have been hindered by the all-consuming political focus on Brexit.”
Notes to editors
- The Whitehall Monitor 2019 annual report is available on our website.
- The Institute for Government is an independent think tank that works to make government more effective.
- Whitehall Monitor is divided into nine chapters: ministers, civil service, finances, public spending, legislation, major projects, digital, communication and transparency and performance.
- Whitehall Monitor features 111 charts, which draw on hundreds of datasets. The underlying data in this report is also available upon request.
- For more information, please contact email@example.com / 0785 031 3791.
Latest News from
IEA releases new, comprehensive book on socialism21/02/2019 12:35:00
Today the Institute of Economic Affairs unveils a new book from our Head of Political Economy Dr Kristian Niemietz: ‘Socialism: the failed idea that never dies’.
IFS - New proposals for council funding formula would hit deprived areas21/02/2019 11:35:00
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is seeking views on the approach to measuring the relative needs and resources of local authorities. This consultation will close on 21 February 2019. IFS researchers Neil Amin-Smith, Tom Harris and David Phillips have submitted evidence.
We are entering an age of unprecedented environmental breakdown, IPPR warns21/02/2019 10:35:00
Deadly combination of damage to land, soil, air, water and animal populations alongside climate change is creating catastrophic global risk, says IPPR report
JRF - Universal Credit can loosen the grip of poverty, but further reform is needed21/02/2019 09:35:00
Universal Credit has the potential to help families locked in poverty, but the Government must make urgent improvements in its design, funding and delivery if it is not to drive some towards destitution, according to new analysis by the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
NIESR Monthly Wage Tracker – Nominal pay growing at fastest rate for a decade, but expected to stabilise in short term20/02/2019 14:25:00
Nominal pay growing at fastest rate for a decade, but expected to stabilise in short term.
Adam Smith Inst - Britain must build up, out and all about19/02/2019 11:35:00
In a new paper for the Adam Smith Institute, Senior Fellow Nigel Hawkins sets out eight ways that Britain could increase the level of housebuilding at a national and local level.
JRF - People in poverty must not pay the price for Brexit19/02/2019 10:35:00
Coalition demand Government action to protect struggling families.
IFS - The government’s proposals for the reform of business rates retention need further work19/02/2019 09:35:00
Ahead of a proposed move from 50% to 75% business rates retention in April 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is seeking views on its proposals for the reform of certain elements of the business rates retention system in England. IFS researchers Neil Amin-Smith and David Phillips have submitted evidence.