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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 12:35 GMT
Blair urges civil service reform
Tony Blair
The prime minister was making a keynote speech
Tony Blair has outlined his vision of a reformed dynamic civil service which will drive change rather than acting as a buffer against it.

In a keynote speech, the prime minister said he saw it as his duty to leave the civil service in a better state than he found it in 1997.

He said a civil service which could "adapt, deliver and innovate is a hugely valuable asset".

It "needs to encourage and reward lateral thinking" he added.

Burden of regulation

"It needs to reward civil servants who look outwards for learning rather than up the hierarchy for approval," the prime minister said.

Mr Blair also called for an assessment of the regulatory burden of any new piece of legislation.

"For civil servants and ministers regulation often appears costless but for those delivering on the frontline in schools or hospitals or in small businesses it is not."

The prime minister made his remarks during a speech marking the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the modern civil service.

He praised the "enduring" civil service values of integrity and impartiality.

But he argued: "The world has changed and the civil service must change with it."

Prime Minister Tony Blair
"Politicians as well as civil servants have to change"

The BBC's Guto Harri
"He is blaming some of the failures of government on those civil servants"

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