There is more than one way to interpret current developments in the British civil service, depending on the eye of the observer and where he or she chooses to look - and therefore more than one way to predict where the British civil service might be going. However, there is no disputing that the civil service has undergone significant internal change over recent decades, of a form that is recognised internationally as ‘modernisation’. It has had to adapt to external developments too, such as the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU), the devolution of substantial power to Scotland and Wales, and the intermittent progress towards new institutions in Northern Ireland. There is no denying that traditional features of the civil service have experienced some erosion during the course of that modernisation. Nevertheless, the departures from the classic norms are less drastic than is often portrayed, because much of what went on in Whitehall was not well described by the Whitehall model.
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