2 more die in AFGH
Its not a great performance by PUS who is clearly nervous, and James Arbuthnot is being a pompous arrse who seized on a comment about public sector pay and tried to get a soundbite. Ursula is highly unusual in that she hasn't got a long background in MOD - she came to the MOD from some random department about 5 years ago, and doesnt have a deep defence background - I think this is clear in her evidence - she doesnt seem to have the comfortable familiarity with defence that a career MOD CS would have. Its not brilliant, but by the sound of things there weren't many alternatives out there to chose from. Oh for a decent PUS right now to steer us through these rocky waters...
According to the new commander of the British Army a Ms Ursula Brennan, who is called the PUS at the MOD, servicemen and women are merely another strain of "Public Sector Workers" who must bear the strain of the national debt crisis. This is another militant Civil Servant who has complete contempt for service personnel - the danger is she decides policy.
Her official biography is here:
Ministry of Defence | About Defence | People | Senior Officials | Permanent Under Secretary
"Ursula took up the appointment of Permanent Under Secretary at the Ministry of Defence in October 2010.
Prior to joining the MOD, Ursula was Deputy Permanent Secretary and Director General Corporate Performance at the Ministry of Justice from April to September 2008, having previously led the review to create the structure for the new Ministry of Justice. Her remit covered leadership of all of the corporate functions in MoJ, including finance, HR, IT, strategy and planning, communications and research and analysis. Ursula was chosen to lead the review when she was Chief Executive of the Office for Criminal Justice Reform, a role she took on in 2006. OCJR is the cross-departmental team that supports the three criminal justice departments and all criminal justice agencies in working together to provide an improved service to the public.
Prior to OCJR, Ursula was the DG, Living Land and Seas at Defra from 2004-2006. Her responsibilities included board-level leadership of strategy for rural disadvantage, protection of wildlife and the countryside and marine and fisheries business. She led the implementation of a review of rural delivery, merging and creating two new Non Departmental Public Bodies and restructuring delivery of grants and advice to rural business. She also led a programme to reform the delivery of policy in Defra.
Ursula had spent most of her career in what is now the Department for Work and Pensions, latterly leading the strategy on welfare to work and benefit fraud. In that role she was responsible for policies designed to reduce disadvantage and promote opportunity for millions of people of working age and their children, and for delivering PSA targets on reducing unemployment and increasing employment, particularly for vulnerable groups and for sick and disabled people; reducing child poverty within a generation and reducing fraud and error in benefit payments. Ursula also led on the development of universal banking; and strategic support to strategies on health and safety at work.
Ursula joined the DHSS in 1975 after two years with the Inner London Education Authority. After a variety of health-related jobs, she moved on to social security, covering policy on all the main social security benefits and then into operations as a Director of the Department's Information Technology Services Agency, responsible for a range of IT projects and contracts. From there she became Director of Change Management at the Benefits Agency, leading the Agency's Change Programme and heading a directorate of over 1,000 staff. In 1997 she returned to policy, with responsibility for benefits for long term sick and disabled people. Ursula became a DG in 1999 when she assumed strategic leadership for the Department's major change programme.
Ursula was born in 1952 and is married. She has a degree in English and American Literature from the University of Kent at Canterbury."
So, to recap, she's been in post at MoD less than 6 months.
Previous to that, she seems to have specialised in preventing benefit fraud, (always a popular subject here) some soft and fluffy environmental stuff, and a stint in criminal justice.
I can't say that I've ever met the lady, even though her career path has coincided with mine at various times, but I'd guess that she is a standard issue careerist policy wonk Civil Servant. Basically, fairly neutral, but for Christ's sake keep them away from introducing new IT systems or annual appraisal procedures.
Staff at that level of seniority don't normally have much Left wing sympathy left in them. (Dealing with PCS shop stewards knocks that out of them). I'd provisionally put this down as selective misquoting to get quick headlines or a rise from those 'wanting to be outraged'.
Fixed that last sentence for you!
Pretty spot on post I think - both her and her 'quote' are pretty harmless, although to be honest I would rather that senior CS were a little less 'harmless', and a little more experienced, seasoned and informed in their own departments. It seems to have become an axiom of modern management that senior managers require only 'cross-cutting' skills that could be read across from Marks & Spencers, to Treasury, to MoD. On the other hand, that sort of attitude seems to have spread to senior uniformed leadership too - contrast this with some of 'technocrat' senior officers in the US Army, many of whom are more than capable of ripping a new a-hole in many a BAE sales pitch by themselves.