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'Deputy Prime Minister' Damian Green wants Whitehall to be more 'agile' after visiting consortium in Ashford

By Chris Price

The Prime Minister’s second-in-command wants central and local government to adopt a more efficient way of thinking developed by a consortium based in Kent, as it takes on the challenges of Brexit.

First Secretary of State Damian Green said senior civil servants could benefit from becoming more agile in the way they operate and “changing the traditional way in which parts of Whitehall still work”.

It comes after Mr Green, the effective deputy prime minister, visited the Agile Consortium, a not-for-profit organisation based in Ashford, which tries to improve efficiency in businesses.

In a meeting with its chairman Geof Ellingham and chief executive Mary Henson, he was told how the group’s frameworks can help businesses, local government and Whitehall operate more productively.

Mr Ellingham said his guest had been “particularly keen to learn more about our evolving work in the sphere of agile budgeting”.

He said: “As the UK faces up to the uncertainty of Brexit, Agile is arguably more relevant now than it has ever been, as organisations need to be able to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances.

“Having the chance to take that message to the highest level of government was a great opportunity and Damian Green seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say.”

From left, Agile marketing and relationships manager Tamsin Fox-Davies, Damian Green MP, Agile chair Geof Ellingham and chief executive Mary Henson

From left, Agile marketing and relationships manager Tamsin Fox-Davies, Damian Green MP, Agile chair Geof Ellingham and chief executive Mary Henson

Mr Green, the MP for Ashford, said: “The Government is committed to operating as efficiently as possible and our Government Transformation Strategy 2017-20 identifies Agile as one of the ways of achieving this.

“I was pleased to learn more from the experts in the field and to suggest opportunities where the consortium may be able to help both central and local government to become more agile, including forward-thinking local authorities and elected city mayors ­– who may want to make a difference by taking new approaches – as well as senior civil servants with an open mind about changing the traditional way in which parts of Whitehall still work.”

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