The Fulton Committee on the Civil Service was appointed and fi rst met just before the March 1966 general election, at which the Labour Government increased its majority from two to 96. It reported in June 1968 in rather less propitious circumstances. In the previous November, the pound had been devalued and Britain’s second application to join the EEC had been rejected; George Brown, as Deputy Prime Minister, had resigned in March and mounting tension within Cabinet reputedly left Wilson as Prime Minister vulnerable to a coup.1 A further examination of the Service, as seen, had been deemed unnecessary by the Fabian Society. The House of Commons’ Estimates Committee, however, disagreed. Its report in August 1965 on recruitment had concluded that the quantity and quality of applicants would only improve were there signifi cant changes to the Service’s structure and management. It was on the basis of this report that the Fulton Committee was appointed and its terms of reference – to ‘examine the structure, recruitment and management, including training, of the Home Civil Service’ – determined. The Estimates Committee, however, was less successful in determining the nature of the new inquiry. On the advice of two leading academic witnesses (Professor W.J.M. Mackenzie and D.N. Chester), it had recommended a twostage process. First a ‘mixed’ committee, similar to Plowden, should initiate a research programme to clarify, particularly in the light of international experience, how government could best respond to ‘modern’ conditions. The government could then either accept a particular set of recommendations or refer the matter to a Royal Commission for more open deliberation. Senior Treasury offi cials (including the new Joint Secretaries, Helsby and Armstrong) strongly opposed any new inquiry. Their somewhat contradictory justifi cation was that the current internally-driven reform programme needed time to reach ‘fruition’ and that, since government was in a ‘particularly fl uid state’, no current set of recommendations was likely to last ‘for the next hundred years’.2 However, once the Estimates Committee had reported, such opposition evaporated. The hope now was that the success of the Plowden Committee could be repeated, albeit more publicly, and the fashionable frenzy for modernisation cauterised.3