This article considers the problem posed by the need to build policy coherence across the levels of government but with a focus on the strategic role of the centre in the hollow state. It considers the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) as an example of a structure, the taskforce, designed to meet the demands of coherence-building. It concludes that, far from the centre being hollowed out, resulting in a permanent loss of capacity, there is a growing emphasis in the core executive on strategic co-ordination and the emergence of institutions such as the SEU indicate a counter-tendency to hollowing out: filling in.