Preparing Brexit: How ready is Whitehall?

Political divisions over Brexit are creating a culture of secrecy in Whitehall.

This June 2018 report from the Institute for Government argues that the greatest challenge in delivering Brexit now stems from the inability of a split Cabinet to make critical decisions. Political tensions are encouraging secrecy, where access to key documents is highly restricted. Important information is not being shared between departments, and those outside government with a legitimate reason to be kept informed, such as Parliament and business, are being kept in the dark.

This secrecy makes effective co-ordination across departments, devolved administrations and public bodies difficult. Preparations are being hindered by competing ministerial preferences, lack of information and the deferral of critical decisions on the UK’s preferred future relationship.

The report also identifies three other challenges, including struggling to get (and keep) the right civil servants in place, inconsistent planning assumptions and ineffective consultation with business.

 

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