Mark Flanagan, Jayne Nickalls, John Suffolk, Alex Butler, Andrew Stott… now Matt Tee.
The Cabinet Office has announced that the Permanent Secretary Government Communications is to ‘undertake a review of the Central Office of Information (COI) and the coordination of cross-department marketing and communications’ – and then head for the exit himself. The review will be completed in January, and Tee will be gone by the end of March.
Martha Lane Fox’s review of Directgov rightly won praise for being concise and plain-spoken. Tee has also shown a similar fondness for brevity and bluntness – as exemplified by his recent review of Arsenal’s second-half performance against Spurs.
Update 1: now confirmed via Twitter. I wouldn’t read too much into it. But then again…
Update 2: A copy of Tee’s resignation letter has come into my possession. Here are some of the juicier passages:
I will not be replaced as Permanent Secretary, but the importance of strong leadership of the profession is understood and arrangements will be announced before I leave.
The planned review of COI and the Lane-Fox review of digital bring us rapidly to some big conclusions. Many of us have discussed the changes that need to happen – indeed many of us think they are overdue. A far greater focus on effectiveness and value for money; more partnerships with brand and media owners; a greater focus on audiences rather than departmental brands; a different relationship with the industry; and a clarity about those things that only Government can do.
The work to reconfigure parts of Government communication, including COI, and to make very significant savings in departmental communications will be very challenging. I recognise that it will be difficult to justify a Permanent Secretary role as head of a smaller communications profession and I am going to seek fresh challenges after overseeing the review of COI and the transition for Government communications.
It has been a privilege to be Permanent Secretary for Government Communication. I hope that I have led the profession through challenging times to a place where communication is well placed to justify the resource we know it deserves. But be under no misapprehension, the argument still needs to be made.