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Reputability are thought leaders in the field of reputational risk and its root causes, behavioural risk and organisational risk. Our book 'Rethinking Reputational Risk' received excellent reviews: see www.rethinkingreputationalrisk.com. Anthony Fitzsimmons, one of its authors, is an authority and accomplished speaker on reputational risks and their drivers. Reputability helps business leaders to find these widespread but hidden risks that regularly cause reputational disasters. We also teach leaders and risk teams about these risks. Here are our thoughts, and the thoughts of our guest bloggers, on some recent stories which have captured our attention. We are always interested to know what you think too.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Only 5% of top civil servants have degree level science education

Only two of the 42 permanent secretaries that lead the UK's Civil Service have science or engineering degrees.  Two more have degree level numeracy.   And the nearest the UK Treasury's policy-making Executive Management Group has to a scientist is one person with a maths degree.  (Source: Cabinet Office and Treasury FOI answers)

Yet the seminal 1968  Fulton Report  recommended professionalisation of the civil service's cult of the clever (typically Oxbridge) amateur.  Apart from recommending training in management (though why is No 10 drafting in top businessmen to bring management acumen to all government departments?) Fulton specifically recommended that scientists and engineers should be given more training and responsibility in management and policy spheres (Chapter 1 para 17)

It is clear that the Civil Service has not developed scientists and engineers to fill the highest levels; and a FOI answer states "There is no strategy or policy that has been pursued by the Civil Service (either at present or in the last five years), to ensure that current and potential permanent secretaries are selected to ensure a certain distribution of academic backgrounds amongst this group."

Two questions remain:
  1. Why has the Civil Service leadership not implemented the Fulton recommendation on scientists and engineers over the last 40 years?
  2. What are the consequences of their failure to do so?

Anthony Fitzsimmons

Anthony Fitzsimmons is Chairman of Reputability LLP and, with the late Derek Atkins, author of “Rethinking Reputational Risk: How to Manage the Risks that can Ruin Your Business, Your Reputation and You

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