Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Cabinet Office new faces - a correction

Apologies for getting it wrong in the earlier post - Oliver Letwin is taking overall responsibility for the Cabinet Office, but the Paymaster General will be Matthew Hancock.  I have edited the previous post to take account of this - you can see the original text score through.

Some of my comment remain the same - it is an important role - and some changes. 

One of the comments I made I now have to backtrack on, and will worry about.  Mr Hancock is clearly young and ambitious.  He has experience on the Public Account Committee, and been Minister of State for Business and Enterprise.  These should stand him in good stead overseeing public procurement.  But will he see this as a stepping stone to greater roles, rather than an important role in its own right (as Francis Maude clearly did)?  How he sees the role will have an impact on how he carries it out.  It is only natural that if he is focused on promotion he will look for opportunities to demonstrate that he should be promoted - that may lead to shorter term, riskier and more "flashy" initiatives which make a splash rather than longer term structural change which tends to be slow, undramatic and often underappreciated.

There will also inevitably be jokes about "Hancock's half hour", which will go over the head of anyone younger than 50 and make those of us above that think wistfully of "the lad himself".

Good luck to all of them.

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