Like the majority of Westminster watchers, public affairs professionals and political nerds, the team at Inflect were glued to the appearance of Dominic Cummings before the Select Committee this week, as he threw out political grenades in an attempt to blow up his former boss and colleagues.

As the media storm subsides, and we pick through the wreckage, what can we learn about how Government works and how, where and when decisions are made?

1) Government plans/strategies are not properly scrutinised or discussed

In the case of crisis preparedness, there were plans in place, but these had not been adequately interrogated, and were not able to be operationalised. Can we assume from this that in Whitehall having a plan or a strategy is prioritised over actually being able to deliver it? Public Affairs professionals can provide a key role in helping Government to have plans in place that can be effectively operationalised.

2) Personal relationships matter.

As public affairs professionals, we know that relationships between key figures are important, and that knowing who supported who in a leadership contest or who pipped who to the post in a council seat many years previously can drive relationships between Secretaries of State many years later. Cummings proved that making an effort to understand the dynamics between individuals in the same party is well worth the effort.

3) Responsibilities within Government are unclear even to those on the inside.

It was striking during Cummings’ testimony that there was a lot of confusion about who was doing what, where responsibilities lay and that even in a National crisis situation, putting a command-and-control structure in place was a huge challenge. the lesson here must be that if it looks like Government isn’t joined up then it probably isn’t.

4) Parliament played no role.

Aside from the fact that Cummings is widely reported as having little time for MPs generally, it was striking how little Parliament was referenced in his testimony or utilised by the Government, even when the official opposition was trying to be constructive. Parliament’s primary role is to scrutinise the executive but in a crisis, this role is extremely limited. A Government with a majority and the support of the general public is unstoppable.

5) Finally, as we all know, any individual’s time at the top of politics is short.

If Cummings was the second most powerful person in Government 12 months ago, he certainly isn’t today. Always have a wide Stakeholder map and never rely on relationships with one person and their political tribe to form the basis of your public affairs strategy.

As the interface between Politicians and external interests, I can’t help thinking that public affairs professionals should be utilised better by those inside Government, that our informed voices can be used much more effectively to challenge ‘group think’ and provide practical and operational insight, particularly when making decisions at scale and pace.

I am sure there is more to be learnt from Dominic Cummings’ small and self-interested window into the operation of Government in the most serious of circumstances and as always comments are welcome.

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