By John F. Naylor
The talk surrounding the booklet of Richard Crossman's cupboard Diaries (1975) delivered to the fore opposing thoughts of 'open' and 'closed' govt inside Britain's loose society. whereas a stability has for the instant been struck about the secrecy of cupboard court cases, a old query is still: via what strategy, and with what effects, has respectable secrecy come to envelop the practices of contemporary cupboard govt? This publication tackles that key query, drawing upon a uniquely wide variety of reliable and personal papers to check the ancient improvement of the cupboard place of work, the custodian of cupboard secrecy. tested by way of Lloyd George within the administrative chaos of 1916, the cupboard Secretariat - because it used to be first recognized - emerged because the significant company for the administration of cupboard enterprise, operating heavily with the best Minister himself. In Sir Maurice Hankey's twenty-two-year time period as cupboard secretary, he presided over the institutionalisation of the Secretariat as an workplace loose from partisan taint and he individually served all Britain's inter-war best Ministers as confidant and influential consultant.
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Additional resources for A Man and an Institution: Sir Maurice Hankey, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Custody of Cabinet Secrecy
68 In his charge as Secretary to the War Cabinet, Hankey was expected to draft an authoritative record of Cabinet proceedings. While a radical departure from traditional Cabinet procedures, such a practice had important institutional antecedents: the nature of these secretarial tasks did not differ substantially from those he had acquired while serving in the Secretariat to the Committee of Imperial Defence. That recordkeeping body, in existence since 1904, had been adapted during the war to serve the needs of the several war committees.
Recognition of this basic deficiency moved Lord Curzon in 1918 to speak of the old procedures with an air of incomprehension: There was no agenda, there was no order of business. Any Minister requiring to bring up a matter either of Departmental or of public importance had to seek the permission of the Prime Minister to do so. No one else, broadly speaking, was armed in advance. It was difficult for any Minister to secure an interstice in the discussion in which he could place his own case. No record whatever was kept of our proceedings, except the private and personal letter written by the Prime Minister to the Sovereign, the contents of which, in any case, are never seen by anybody else.
Yet for all the change in methods, the war policy of the British 30 A man and an institution government did not much alter. 120 As a result, the war of deadly attrition persisted in France and Flanders. Nor could the military orientation of the Cabinet Secretariat ease the acrimonious relationship between the executive and the military authorities in the formulation and execution of war policy. Though the divisive struggle between war committees and the Cabinet had been ended, the debilitating conflict of politicians and soldiers persisted: in fact, relations between the 'frocks' and the 'brasshats' deteriorated throughout 1917.
A Man and an Institution: Sir Maurice Hankey, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Custody of Cabinet Secrecy by John F. Naylor