David Cameron’s colleagues have rounded on his “very bad” management in a new report from a leading think tank. Anonymous quotes from coalition ministers featured in the publication Whitehall reform: the view from the inside paint a picture of a demotivated government — where performance doesn’t count for anything.
One minister complained to researchers of David Cameron’s lack of interest in what they were actually doing:
“The efficient running of a government department has no bearing on their [Ministerial] career prospects. A Minister is interested in the media, how they do in Parliament, the next reshuffle … The Prime Minister doesn’t say, ‘Well done!’ So if you wanted Ministers to engage in the process properly you’d need to send a much clearer signal that this is something that is valued.”
While another MP admits that he and his fellow ministers aren’t held to account for programmes they’re delivering:
“if you have impunity, if you’re never going to get punished or held to account, and suffer the consequences for lousy decision or you’re never going to be praised for good decisions, it is only human nature that your motivation will suffer.”
It isn’t just the current PM that comes in for a pasting, however, with an unnamed Labour premier also taking flack:
“Ministers are badly managed by the Prime Minister and their senior Ministers. It seems to me if you appoint someone to a post you should tell them what you want them to do.”
So prime ministers are more concerned with tactical travails than the long-term performance of government departments.