‘The horrors of HR needs a bonfire’ says PMs senior adviser

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'The horrors of HR needs a bonfire' says PMs senior adviser

In a blogpost on the 2/1/20, Dominic Cummings, chief special adviser to Boris Johnson has said he desires “weirdos and misfits” to work in the civil service and the Government whilst “the horrors of HR need a bonfire”.

Mr Cummings said:

We need to figure out how to use such people (weirdos) better without asking them to conform to the horrors of ‘Human Resources’ (which also obviously need a bonfire).

Mr Cummings went on to explain that people in Government call out for “diversity” but that does not often mean “true cognitive diversity”. He said this usually refers to gender diversity but what he wants for Whitehall is “genuine cognitive diversity”.

He did admit though that he does not truly know what sort of person he is looking for but the Government needs these sort of people.

Mr Cummings said:

By definition I don’t really know what I’m looking for but I want people around No 10 to be on the lookout for such people.

However, Dave Penman, union general of the FDA, which represents senior civil servants has criticised Mr Cummings call for different types of people.

Mr Penman said:

The civil service is recruited on merit, it’s a really fundamental principle. You are employed in the civil service because of what you can do, not what you believe.

If you surround yourself with people who are recruited simply because they believe the same as you believe, and whose employment is at your behest, is that the best way for the civil service or advisers to speak truth unto power? I don’t think it is, and I think some of those approaches are quite dangerous as well.

Still, Mr Cummings did admit that “there are many brilliant people in the civil service and politics. But there are also some profound problems at the core of how the British state makes decisions.”

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2 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. If DC wants people who are apt to stand on tables spouting sound bite slogans, maybe hire a few shop stewards.

  2. As a young research scientist in a Government Laboratory, I was employed for my wide ranging scientific knowledge and open mindedness …both are required for creative solutions both in Science and other Government areas. It takes both the Senior Management and their staff to work together to create innovation and respect well tried and tested solutions as well. Don’t ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’ and when the baby grows up, and wants to explore……..encourage, whilst keeping the basic principles which have sustained a nation.
    ‘Weirdoes’ is an inflammatory description and rather unnecessary I suggest.

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