FDA questions civil service resources and accusations of politicisation at Institute for Government debate on the repercussions for Whitehall, post EU referendum


On 30 June, the Institute for Government (IfG) hosted a debate on the implications for Whitehall after the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

Speakers included former Cabinet Secretary Lord Turnbull, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Chair Bernard Jenkin and Department for Communities and Local Government Permanent Secretary Melanie Dawes.

Referencing facts provided by the IfG that up to 55% of UK law is based on European legislation, and that the FCO is going to face a budget cut of about 45% in day-to-day resources over the next five years, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman questioned whether it’s possible for civil service’s role to be “be delivered as a zero-sum game with no extra resources”.

Penman also criticised comments made by MPs during the referendum campaign, stating: “I have to say some of the comments, including some of yours Bernard, where you talk about the politicisation of the civil service during this campaign, is only really undermining that trust [between Ministers and civil servants]… that is going to be critical I think going forward.”

Penman’s question and its responses can be read here.

View the full debate

Institute for Government event ‘After the Referendum: The implications for Whitehall’

(Penman’s question begins at 58 minutes and 7 seconds)