Lots going on in this article by Kate Bingham and @thetimes report. A short(ish) thread
First, civil servants need more scientific skills. True. Lots of excellent CS scientists including @uksciencechief but more science backgrounds would be good - also people with data, digital etc skills. And govt should better use the people it already has instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/…
And that goes for commercial / procurement skills too. This part of Bingham’s argument isn’t about scientific skills, it’s about the procurement function.

But how does government work out the difference between opportunism and “valuable corporate behaviour”?
It’s with a bit of process, and healthy fear of media or parliamentary criticism. It’s relatively easy to be bold in a crisis, much harder in normal times. Fair, proper - rapid - process leads to better outcomes and avoids disasters like some of the PPE procurement horror stories
NB the lead here needs to be set by ministers, civil servants will respond to their boldness/caution
Another point Bingham makes is that structures for decision-making are sclerotic. Also true in part, but that’s also not just on the civil servants. The PM needs to use his authority to crack heads together. And the policy-making engine does need work instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/…
Bingham says not enough ministers have scientific backgrounds. Yep, fair, but I don’t buy the line that “this would not matter if we had senior CSs with scientific and technical understanding…” You need both, and the quality of ministers really matters. Again one for the PM
A call for more and better contingency planning - definitely true. I actually think this *should* be on the civil service, with permanent secretaries able to require time and resources to be invested in long-term capacity like emergency response
And finally - from the report, not Bingham’s article - Blob alert… Up to ministers what they brief, but they’ll achieve more if they avoid such crude critiques. Best leave Mr Blobby to Children In Need

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