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Reading the mindset of the secretary of state: shaping policy delivery effectiveness

Kakabadse, A. P. and Kakabadse, N. ORCID: (2020) Reading the mindset of the secretary of state: shaping policy delivery effectiveness. British Politics. ISSN 1746-918X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1057/s41293-020-00147-3


This paper examines the nature of the relationship between the Secretary of State and the Permanent Secretary, with particular focus on determining how policy delivery can be enhanced. The review of the literature offers insights into the role and tasks of the Secretary of State and Permanent Secretary concluding that the quality of their relationship is central to effective policy delivery. The study highlights the considerable attention given by public officials to understanding the Secretary of State in order to ensure better engagement with their political masters. To this end, civil servants report that appreciating the Minister’s propensity for drawing on evidence (soft or hard data) and their level of personal confidence (feeling secure or insecure) provides the necessary insights to ‘get on to the Minister’s wavelength’. Officials report the extent of their flexibility to position arguments in order to win the Minister’s attention and approval. The paper concludes that the appropriate (or inappropriate) reading of the Minister is fundamental to enhancing (or damaging) policy delivery. The lengths officials go to so that the Secretary of State can, and can be seen to, appropriately deliver policy seemingly goes unrecognized by the Minister.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:93412


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