Francis Maude: Moving times for the Maude household

This week’s article may be a little truncated. I wrote last week about the Conservative Party Conference.

Horsham MP Francis Maude

I left Birmingham after the Prime Minister’s speech on Wednesday, and after a brief stop in London to announce the appointment of the first ever full time chief executive of the Civil Service, a top level business leader called John Manzoni, I came down to Sussex to help with our house move, which my wife and daughter had been undertaking in my absence.

This was a five day exercise. We’d lived there for 18 years, moving there when our youngest was only a few months old.

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It is the childhood home for our five children, with lots of memories - and even more clutter!

During that time we lost both our surviving parents, and inevitably accumulated lots more stuff.

We have in consequence become very familiar figures at the Horsham and Billingshurst recycling centres.

We haven’t moved very far - ten minutes away, still in Horsham district but like the previous house just outside my own constituency. So if I have a grievance I can write to Nick Herbert rather than myself!

Lots of unpacking and settling in now. As always when downsizing there’s a quart needing to be fitted into a pint pot.

What better way to spend a 30th wedding anniversary?

Back to the appointment of the new chief executive of the Civil Service.

I have made the point many times that we have brilliant civil servants - probably the best in the world.

But it isn’t the best Civil Service in the world. We don’t make the best of the people we have.

So that’s the huge priority. Build capability in commercial skills and knowledge, digital and IT, project and programme management, and overall capability to execute effectively.

We sometimes allow ourselves to believe that what the Civil Service does is completely different from any other organisation. Much of what it does is different and not comparable with a business.

But most of what most civil servants do is easily recognisable to business leaders.

So we’re really lucky to have John Manzoni, who was CEO of most of BP, then CEO of the Canadian oil and gas major Talisman, and therefore has huge business leadership experience.

He’s already spent eight months in the Civil Service as CEO of the Major a projects Authority, which we set up in early 2011.

There is plenty for him to do in his new role!