He may have been wrong about many things but civil service reform was not one of them.
No matter which level of government, the challenge is the same – to translate policies into actions within a reasonable timescale, especially if there are people in the middle whose interest is in making sure they don’t happen.
One anticipated recommendation is that it should be possible to be a minister without being in either House of Parliament. An example is Kate Bingham who, by common consent, made a great job of running the vaccination programme but could not be vaccinations minister.
An alternative is to make them a Lord or Lady. However, one need only consider Lord Bethell to see what a tainted process that is and why no decent public servant should feel obliged to participate.
Bethell, a hereditary peer, was a Matt Hancock crony and lobbyist who went to the Lords, became a health minister and is under investigation for fixing a parliamentary pass for Hancock’s paramour. Sleazy does not begin to cover it.
I wish we could have a similar report in Scotland which suffers from the same problems regarding policy formulation and implementation. We certainly don’t want Lords but Holyrood does need a revising chamber with people who know what they are talking about, less constrained by party tribalism.
Come to think of it, a Constitutional Convention which could look at all of these matters and adapt structures of UK-wide government to the age of devolution would be a welcome, if unlikely, development.