Why the mooted Whitehall shake-up may come at the wrong time for DEFRA

Since the Conservative Party’s emphatic election victory in December, rumours have been swirling that Downing Street is considering a major Whitehall shake-up.

In December, the Sunday Times reported that Dominic Cummings, the unconventional chief adviser to prime minister Boris Johnson, was mulling plans to carve out responsibility for climate change from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy once the UK formally leaves the EU.

That was followed in January by a widely-shared blog post, in which Cummings highlighted what he saw as “profound problems at the core of how the British state makes decisions”, from how big projects are managed to the ‘churn’ of generalist civil servants between departments. 

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