A key issue that has emerged from Covid is the necessity for competence in our politicians. To date, the requirement for public office is based on public popularity, without reference to any specific competence. It is increasingly evident from recent events that popularity and competence do not correlate in our politicians and public officers. Few would deny that such officers have enormous power to cause harm as well as good (including by omission). In particular, during Covid it has become clear that specific competencies were demonstrated less by public officials than was desirable:
• Ability to analyse and weigh conflicting statistical data
• Ability to make unpopular decisions for the benefit of the greater good, and to put aside personal interests in doing so.
Interestingly, the Civic Service competency framework specifically references these competences- level 6 applying to director level. For other professions (using the term broadly) with similarly grave responsibilities, competency assessment has become a mandatory requirement in the last few decades. In part 2 I will develop my ideas on how to assess the competencies required for public office, in order to ensure a minimum benchmark is present on entry.