Failure to fill civil service’s top job highlights North’s political paralysis

Comment: With the North’s civil service in disarray and in need of reform, no one has been appointed to take the job in hand. But maybe the DUP and Sinn Féin like it that way

11th October, 2020
Failure to fill civil service’s top job highlights North’s political paralysis
Michelle O'Neill, the North’s Deputy First Minister, and Arlene Foster, First Minister (right) have failed to replace the head of the civil service despite a nine-month notice period. Picture: PA

The Northern Ireland Civil Service has all the characteristics of a failing organisation: inconsistency, confusion, procrastination and a failure to attract and retain talent. There is a broad consensus that it is simply not fit for purpose and major reforms are long overdue.

In that context, should we be shocked or surprised at the failure of the executive to appoint the top civil servant in Northern Ireland? Unfortunately, no. Does it matter? Unequivocally, yes.


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