A survey by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) of the UK’s 100 top business leaders has revealed that Government management practices fall far short of the minimum they believe is necessary to effectively manage large organisations.


Download the full report here (PDF)


The survey, which asked the Chief Executives of all FTSE 100 companies to specify the experience and term of tenure necessary to do a good job, received responses from 32 CEOs whose companies have a combined turnover of £370 billion and employ 1.8 million people. The skills, experience and stable management recommended by Britain’s most successful business leaders contrast sharply with the current reality of unmanageable departments, inexperience and constant reshuffling found in Westminster and Whitehall. The report lays out ways to learn from successful businesses to improve the value for money and quality of service received by taxpayers.


The full report, which can be found here, contains full details of the survey and detailed analysis of the reality in government as well as the TPA’s recommendations for fundamental change.

Key Findings


The Chief Executives highlighted three essential qualities for good senior management, which contrast sharply with the current situation in UK Government:


    • Chief Executives recommend: Experience of senior management.

      But in Government: None of the current Cabinet have any experience of managing a large business. Only 1 in 7 MPs has any management experience at all.


    • Chief Executives recommend: At least 5 years in the post, to adequately get to grips with the task in hand.

      But in Government: The average appointment for a Secretary of State is 2 years, for a senior civil servant 2 years and 8 months, and for a minister just 1 year and 8 months.


  • Chief Executives recommend: Experience of the sector the organisation works in.

    But in Government: Departments are so vast and varied it is impossible to be properly experienced in their sector. For example, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has 63 subsidiaries covering everything from heritage sites to the 2012 Olympics.


Ben Farrugia, Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Comparison with the most successful business leaders in the country reveals that the people running public services lack appropriate experience, have near impossible tasks to do and are never in their job for long enough to engage properly with their departments. Whitehall is malfunctioning in a way that no business could ever contemplate, and it is ordinary families who have to foot the bill and suffer the consequence of struggling services.”

Download the full report here (PDF)

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