Top Civil Servants Made Formal Protests Over Labours Spending
Gordon Browns disastrous tenure as Prime Minister was a government of nastiness, bullying, smearing and vitriolic lies so it comes as no surprise to find out that during the dying months of the Labour regime Civil Servants made formal protests and requests in writing about Labour ministers spending.
Asking for specific written instructions from a minister is regarded as the “nuclear option” by Whitehall mandarins, it is very rare that such a request should be made, yet during the dying weeks of the last Labour government frequent requests were made for written instructions.
Civil servants came under increasing pressure from ministers in the dying months of the Labour government to carry out expensive orders that they disagreed with and responded by submitting an unprecedented number of formal protests in the run-up to the general election.
The five separate protests came in the form of written ministerial directions – requested by the most senior civil servant in a department when they disagree with a minister’s decision so strongly that they refuse to be accountable for it.
Such ministerial orders are rare and signify an irresolvable dispute between a minister and his most senior civil servant. Whitehall sources told the Guardian there had been five this year. Public records also show nine last year and five between 2008 and 2005.
That marks a big increase on the previous decade. A list of these ministerial directions published in the House of Commons shows that they were issued at a rate of two a year between 1990 and 2005.
Under previous governments there were 30 written requests in 15 years, with Browns Labour regime there 14 written requests in 17 months.
Jonathan Baume, head of the FDA union for senior civil servants, said that for a permanent secretary, who is also accounting officer for each department, to request ministerial direction was the “nuclear option”.
Baume said: “It’s very rare. It’s not unusual for there to be discussions between ministers and civil servants, but where the permanent secretary feels so strongly that there is a reason why a decision would not be appropriate, in effect the PS protects their own position by saying they disagree with the position. It’s saying I do not wish to be accountable for this decision because the permanent secretary disagrees.”
David Laws, the chief secretary to the Treasury, told the BBC’s Newsnight on Monday: “We’re very concerned indeed that over the last few months of the last government there were a lot of spending commitments that were made and some of those may not represent good value for money and in some cases the decisions seem to have been made against accounting officer advice. There were examples of that and that concerns us greatly.” Full Story The Guardian
More and more evidence is surfacing about a deliberate policy directed by Gordon Brown and implemented by his ministers, to leave the economy in ruins for the incoming government; had Labour won the election then Brown and Darling would have swept it all “off the books”.