New PDF release: At the Centre of Whitehall: Advising the Prime Minister and

By June Burnham, G. W. Jones J. M. Lee

ISBN-10: 0230377149

ISBN-13: 9780230377141

ISBN-10: 0312177305

ISBN-13: 9780312177300

ISBN-10: 1349404365

ISBN-13: 9781349404360

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9 Yet British prime ministers have always had an official at their elbow or on a telephone extension noting their discussion for later action. 10 A more important consideration is whether this civil servant was used by Mrs Thatcher to assert prime-ministerial power over Cabinet colleagues and whether he should have let himself be so used. There are two different types of case. In the first, exemplified by the Commonwealth conference at Kuala Lumpur and the Bruges speech, the prime minister used Charles Powell's drafting skills to produce documents that contradicted Foreign Office views.

60 l3! ~-~ .. 8~ 30 ~ t:"' 00> E~ )( ~ c .. 2. are not strictly comparable, and not just because of inflation. 6 Accounting methods had changed during the 1980s as government departments started to allocate costs to users. 3 for the period 1986 to 1995 are higher than costs shown for earlier years partly because they include RAF flights, office accommodation, government cars, Chequers staff and office cleaning. 5m in 1992-3. 4 lists the costs of some items in No. 10's budget. The information given to Alan Williams can be used, with appropriate adjustments for inflation, to estimate the cost of the Prime Minister's Office on the same accounting basis as in 1980-1.

In No. 10 they handle the typing and distribution of papers, the confidential filing, and all the details of managing the household and the prime minister's engagements and speeches. In the Cabinet Office they keep and circulate the minutes of both Cabinet and its committees, and they circulate such papers as ministers wish their colleagues to see. On each side of the door senior staff undertake comparable roles. Part I of the book deals with the Prime Minister's Office's capacity to advise, assist and link; Part II is concerned with the Cabinet Office's obligations to secure appropriate information, to prepare options and to brief all who 'need to know' before any collective decision is taken; it also examines the Privy Council Office, non-departmental ministers and other attachments to the Cabinet Office.

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At the Centre of Whitehall: Advising the Prime Minister and Cabinet by June Burnham, G. W. Jones J. M. Lee


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