THERESA MAY’S rapid turnover of junior ministers and her weak leadership is disrupting Brexit preparations, a damning report has found.
It could also make it more difficult for the PM to achieve her domestic agenda, the Institute for Government Whitehall Monitor warned.
The report found that 85 of the 122 ministers across government are new in their post since the General Election.
This has hindered Brexit plans and also means that a third of the Government’s major projects worth over £1billion are at risk of not being delivered on time and on budget.
Only two ministers at the crucial Department for Exiting the EU have stayed in place since July 2016.
Yesterday Brexit Secretary David Davis revealed 44 per cent of his department’s staff plan to leave it in the next year.
It has a staff turnover of 3 per cent a month.
Every minister in the Cabinet Office and three-quarters of those in the Ministry of Justice were replaced in the January 2018 reshuffle.
The Justice and Culture departments are each on their sixth secretary of state since 2010, while there have been five Work and Pensions Secretaries since 2016.
Remarkably, the civil service has taken on 8,000 additional staff since the Brexit referendum. The IfG also criticised the lack of transparency in the Government – with half of all Freedom of Information requests rejected last year.
IFG director Bronwen Maddox said: "As Theresa May's Government enters 2018, Brexit is rightly absorbing significant effort and is the main reason why the civil service has grown in the past year, after years of shrinking.
"But the Government has made commitments to voters on public services, productivity, social mobility and major projects. If it fails to meet their expectations, it risks further undermining confidence in government."
The report found that "preparations for Brexit have been disrupted by the election, by turnover in personnel and by difficulties in parliamentary management".
While the need to maintain a delicate balance of Brexit views within the Cabinet deprived Mrs May of a "free hand" in choosing her top team, her reshuffles have unleashed considerable upheaval in the lower ministerial ranks, said the report, noting pointedly that this is "where a lot of government business gets done".
Stability in ministerial posts is generally welcome, as "it is better to avoid moving ministers just as they are getting to grips with their department", said the report.
But 44 per cent of all ministers appointed after Mrs May took office in 2016 were new to their jobs, along with 38.5 per cent of those in post after the January 2018 reshuffle.
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