What sort of a civil service do we want?

Public servants are currently under fire in both the UK and France. Boris Johnson has tasked his special adviser Dominic Cummings with reforming the civil service, and a report commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron has been published outlining how to broaden access to the Ena, the elite school for training French officials. The media also ask whether the civil service needs a reorganisation.

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Civil service has gone wrong and needs correction

It's high time for a radical reform of the public sector, The Daily Telegraph believes:

“Anyone with eyes in their head can see that these institutions have become dangerously detached from the people they are meant to serve, and that the PM is trying to rescue the public sector from itself. The Government believes that there is a glitch in the system: institutions have gone wrong but, in their current structure, there is no clear way to correct them. Several police forces, for example, have ceased to investigate burglaries - not because they've been told to by Parliament but because they've developed their own list of priorities and largely run themselves, which makes them almost impervious to improvement.”

L'Obs (FR) /

The elites are not the problem

Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater, entrepreneur Nicolas Colin warns in Le Nouvel Obs:

“Concentrating on the [elite school for high-ranking officials] Ena misses the point. The transformation we are witnessing today is fundamentally changing society. ... In accordance with our tradition, the state is on the front line. Our fellow citizens are accustomed to demanding accountability from those who govern. For a long time, we French saw our state as an organisation capable of setting the pace for developments and solving the most difficult problems. For the past few decades, however, it hasn't been able to do that anymore. The widespread perception today is that our administration is powerless, and that is fuelling fears.”