Cummings and Co to move into Cabinet Office hub with ‘real-time performance data’

Written by Beckie Smith on 17 August 2020 in News
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A number of senior Downing Street figures are to be given space at the central department’s HQ at 70 Whitehall 

Credit: Sgconlaw/CC BY-SA 3.0

Dominic Cummings and other senior Downing Street figures are to move into the Cabinet Office headquarters next month in a new “collaboration hub” which will provide staff with “real-time performance data”.

Downing Street confirmed last night that Boris Johnson’s private office and political aides will take up residence at 70 Whitehall in September in moves that come as the Cabinet Office perm sec Alex Chisholm works on the government’s long-anticipated plan for civil service reform.

The moves may essentially create a de facto “Department for the Prime Minister” in the Cabinet Office, as the No.10 staffers will move into offices that currently house the Cabinet Office economic and domestic affairs secretariat, or EDS, which coordinates cross-Whitehall working on the government’s domestic policy agenda.

The new “collaboration hub” that will house the incoming Downing Street officials will be equipped with co-working desks and television screens displaying “real-time performance data”, The Times reported. And the adjoining door between 70 Whitehall to 10 Downing Street will be removed to symbolically link up the two buildings.


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Cabinet Office officials have been told the move – part of reforms driven by Cummings – is intended to “drive culture change” in the civil service. It comes after Chisholm invited officials to set out their ideas about how to improve the civil service in the first steps of what he called a movement for reform.

Munira Mirza, director of the No.10 policy unit, will be among the other high-ranking staff to make the move.

In an email to Cabinet Office staff yesterday, seen by The Times, EDS director general Mark Sweeney said the move would ensure civil servants were as “efficient as possible in delivering the government’s agenda”.

“We want to make the join from policy idea through to making a difference on the ground as seamless, and as swift, as possible,” he said.

 

About the author

Beckie Smith is a reporter for PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World, where a version of this story first appeared. She tweets as @Beckie__Smith.

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