This web page lists free-to-print PDFs and other books which give access to common sense advice from expert civil servants:- knowledge that could otherwise be gained only through years of experience.
Much of the advice is also relevant to those working in head office and policy functions in local government, the private sector and NGOs.
Science and Statistics
Policy advisers often have to incorporate advice from their scientist and statistician colleagues when preparing papers for ministers and other decision makers. Such colleagues will do their best to explain basic scientific facts, statistical traps and associated jargon. But non-scientists can find it very helpful if they first do a little background reading.
This information and advice will not make you an expert in the various subject areas - nor should you try to become one - but they will help you understand what you are being told, and so help you, in turn, to prepare sensible, easy to understand, policy advice.
Click here to download a free PDF to read or print at home.
Working with Ministers
A practical handbook on advising, briefing and drafting
Once you have read How to be a Civil Servant, I strongly recommend that you now read Christopher Jary's more detailed and highly practical advice.
Serving ministers can be exhilarating and rewarding. But it can also be bewildering and frustrating when roles, relationships and Ministers’ requirements are unclear. This handbook offers practical guidance for those advising Ministers. It includes: briefing orally and in writing (including writing submissions); drafting replies to Ministerial correspondence (Ministers’ Cases and Treat Officially Cases); drafting replies to written and oral Parliamentary Questions; and drafting Ministerial speeches.
This edition was revised in 2015 by the author along with Laura Bryant-Smith of the Policy Profession Support Unit.
The UK's Constitution
Without any proper written rulebook as a constitution, the British system of government relies on those working within it to play by the rules - written or not - and to operate in good faith. As well as considering to what extent we can still rely on those in government to do that, this book also provides a thorough practitioner's guide to the UK's system of government including its constitution, the operation of the UK Parliament and government, and the governments of the devolved administrations.
The author draws on his 25 years’ experience as a civil servant, most of it spent teaching fellow civil servants about how the British system of government works, followed by ten years as an outsider with a more detached view. The book includes many contemporary examples of dramatic events as well as perspectives from constitutional experts, politicians and others.
Published by Paul Grant.
The Public Sector Fox
To succeed, the modern public sector manager must be as a multi-skilled fox, able to face range of challenges in multiple environments. Theirs is a world of high expectations, demanding outcomes and little money. It is a world of partnerships with businesses and charities, of disruptive technology, and of real-time communication with the users of public services. It can also be the most exciting and rewarding world in which to work as a manager. The Public Sector Fox identifies and teaches the skills that managers need to thrive in this world.
Published by Troubador Publishing.
Whether you are an experienced manager or about to take up your first management job, this will be of real help to you in any workplace. It is a lively, easy-to-read book, full of tips and simple, practical things that have been put into practice in the real world. Tony Rossiter's clear, humorous writing style and comprehensive content make this a compelling must-read for anyone with a management role - and an ideal companion for Martin Stanley's SCS Survival Kit.
Published by In Easy Steps Limited.
Changing the subject ... here's a link to a lovely source of attractive stationery.
Under the Rowan Trees is an online independent stationery shop based in Northumberland. It specialises in stationery for letters and journals and aims to make everyday tasks more pleasurable with great quality notebooks and a smooth writing pens from well-known brands and small independents. Heaven for stationery addicts!