Is it now more Difficult to Speak Truth to Power?

The World has changed a lot over the last few decades, and Whitehall has changed with it.  One result may be that it is now more difficult for Ministers to accept advice from senior civil servants. In turn several commentators have accused the modern Senior Civil Service of acting more like courtiers - compared with their predecessors at least.

Here are what some senior officials and others have said to me:-

In wider society:-

Within Whitehall:-

These concerns are echoed by academic commentators:-

Professor Jeremy Richardson makes these points:

And here are some extracts from Professor Anthony King’s  Who Governs Britain?

Professor Kakabadse says that:

Longer excerpts from these three academics’ writing are here.


Martin Stanley