28 June 2011 8:25 AM

Tigers come to Whitehall

A new breed of civil servants has been unleashed on Whitehall in a bid to scrap unnecessary regulations - "red tape tigers".

Born at the Department for Transport, the officials get their claws into each other’s policy areas and suggest what rules and laws could be, erm, thrown to the lions.

“The red tape tigers have been appointed to tear up regulations across the department - hence the name,” an insider said.

Tigers (who I understand even wear a badge) submit their findings to a “star chamber” where officials are brought in to defend their regulations. Decisions are then taken on whether to keep, scrap or amend them.

It is part of the red tape challenge launched by David Cameron earlier this year to reduce the burden on businesses in the pursuit of economic growth.

Other departments are believed to have copied the tiger team system following directions from Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell that scrapping regulations should be a priority.

“We are all learning from each other,” said a Whitehall source.

“There are some pretty robust processes in place that have got real teeth.”

All we need now is to find one called Tony.

Apparently tiger teams were once mentioned in West Wing (confession time - it's not a show I ever got into).  The term originates from aerospace design as 'a team of undomesticated and uninhibited technical specialists, selected for their experience, energy, and imagination, and assigned to track down relentlessly every possible source of failure in a spacecraft subsystem'. (via Wikipedia, H/T The Sun's Graeme Wilson).

Craig Woodhouse
Follow me on Twitter @craigawoodhouse


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