The twenty-first century is characterized by rapid change, globalization, hyper-competition, and hyper-uncertainty. Traditional models of governance and public administration are no match for the challenges of this chaotic environment. There is an urgent need to restore, both in theory and practice, public governance and administration to develop new sets of knowledge and skills that can meet the challenges of the age of rapid changes.
The Civil Service in the UK is proud of the values, talents and effectiveness of their service. They are respected by colleagues in other countries and envied by many. The UK Civil Service has a high reputation. Expectations of it are also high. Consequently, the government is keen to reinvigorate the concept of public service, and celebrate in contribution it makes to society. The history of civil service reform in Britain dates back to the seminal 1854 report by Sir Stafford Northcote and Sir Charles Trevelyan. It introduced competitive examinations and promotion on merit. Between 1966 and 1968, the Fulton committee conducted a wide-ranging examination of the nature, purpose, composition and management of the civil service and made a series of recommendations which were designed to remodel the civil service and equip it to meet the challenges of the late twentieth century. The Fulton Report said that “training should be designed to equip administrators to operate in one or other of the broad group（economic/financial and social），specialists need to be equipped to an appropriate degree for administration and management in addition to their normal skills in their specialisms”.
This doctoral dissertation is on the history of the British civil service training and development from Margret Thatcher Administration to Gordon Brown Administration, on how the training institutes deliver a wide range of courses, on-site and tailored work; e-learning; qualifications and consultancy in the Civil Service College, created in 1970 succeeded by the Centre for Management and Policy Studies, created in 1999 and survived until 2005, again succeeded by the National School of Government. All provide several important lessons about how to deliver mass programmes on senior leadership, organizational development, and the added-value of higher level learning and development and academic excellence in government reform. More essential, is what they tell us about how the training development help civil servants develop greater capacity to handle the challenges in a fast moving environment and how the training institutes play their part in building Departmental capability as well as the skills of individuals and how is it committed to ensuring the training programmes support the public service reform and other cross-cutting themes through proposed programmes.