How’s that belt tightening working out for you, Sir Humphrey?
Bernard, dear boy, it’s simply dreadful. I’ve just found out that as
Permanent Secretary for the Department of Administrative Affairs
I’m to get a performance bonus of nearly £20,000.
Yes! All the Permanent Secretaries – Peter at the Department for
Communities and Local Government, Dame Helen at the Home
Office – all of us. We’re all in the same boat.
Oh, Bernard, do try to keep up. It’s a performance bonus. Can’t
you see the problem?
Yes! No doubt some revolting little hack from the press will
already be ringing round everyone in Whitehall he can think of,
trying to find out who got the most and what they did to earn it.
It doesn’t matter, Bernard.
Bernard, must I again explain to you how demanding the position
of Permanent Secretary is? Must I reiterate how much effort is
required to look after the Minister and ensure that he’s fully briefed
and to look after the long term interests of the Department itself?
No, making sure that feet are put in ‘it’ with sufficient regularity
for us to be needed to extricate them for him, but never to put them
so deeply into it that extrication becomes impossible.
Unless he’s needed to resign, yes. So you do understand?
Close enough. Bernard, but of course allowing it to be put like that
in the press would damage the Department and the Minister, and we
really don’t need to be put to the trouble of housetraining a new one
so soon. Now, how can we prevent all that?
No, unfortunately the Department for Business, Innovation and
Skills is using that one.
Be serious, Bernard.
… So the new one can’t tear up the contracts but isn’t actually to
Bernard? Do you realise exactly what you’re suggesting?
Yes, but it could apply to all departments. The hacks would
get the same answer everywhere.
Yes, it could. Well done, Bernard. We shall have to see that
there’s a small bonus for you.
Yes he does, Bernard. And?