Dominic Cummings is well known for handing out unsoliciting reading tips to journalists and Downing Street officials.
But fresh on the heels of reports that Boris Johnson’s controversial aide has ordered fellow government advisors to read two books on “how to predict the future”, The Times has revealed that “the civil service has a reading list of its own”.
According to inside sources, senior officials ask colleagues who work on projects with Cummings to read a 20-page synopsis of his many blog posts “as a guide to the thinking of the prime minister’s right-hand man”.
The document includes summaries of “his views on data (good), Whitehall (bad) and reprogramming the apex of decision-making authority (unfathomable)”, says the newspaper.
The synopsis was reportedly drawn up last summer by Civil Service Learning, which coordinates training in Whitehall, but officials have been told to refresh their memories of the contents ahead of expected reforms being overseen by Cummings.
A source said: “We were all sent it ages ago but we were encouraged to read it again. It is basically a summary of all of Dominic Cummings’s blogs and the key things he believes in.”
The claims that civil servants have been encouraged to wrap their heads around Cummings’ worldview comes as a fourth senior official quits in the space of five months, as the promised Whitehall overhaul “appeared to be gaining momentum”, The Telegraph reports.
Richard Heaton, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, has announced his intention to stand down in the next few weeks, just days after dismissing reports of his impending departure as “speculation”.
Cummings has long been a critic of the civil service, arguing that it is “too London-centric” and “that bureaucracies behaved in a way that ended up forcing ‘someone with a start-up mentality’ to leave”, the paper says.