An ambitious programme for government reform, to ensure the country builds back better from COVID-19 has been launched by ministers and civil servants today.
The programme will ensure that the government has the tools and resources it needs to deliver on its agenda to level up across the UK.
It will rebalance government away from Whitehall, open up the Civil Service to fresh skills, talent and ideas, and embrace digital technology and data based decision-making.
A first ever joint meeting of the Cabinet and departmental Permanent Secretaries agreed today the Declaration on Government Reform.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster also delivered a speech entitled ‘The Obligations We Owe: Reforming government in the shadow of COVID-19’:
Key parts of the reform declaration include:
- Making the civil service more open to external talent, with all senior civil service roles advertised externally and new, flexible entry routes to the civil service
- Looking beyond London to all corners of the UK, relocating 22,000 civil service roles outside of the capital by 2030, including 50% of senior civil servant roles – rebalancing of the workforce as most senior and policy positions are currently in London
- Investing in new training for both civil servants and ministers, strengthening traditional skills and building expertise in digital, data, science, and project and commercial delivery. A new training campus will be established, the prestigious Fast Stream graduate scheme will be updated and new apprenticeships will be introduced
- Embracing digital technology and data to deliver better services, developing a single sign-on for online government services, making it easier for citizens to access the services they need, and improving data sharing across government
- Improving delivery of projects and programmes with more rigour and accountability, and launching a new Evaluation Task Force, based in the Cabinet Office, to ensure proper scrutiny of real world results
- A new system of pay, reward and performance management, including the introduction of capability based pay for the senior civil service will be brought in. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretary will oversee the performance of Permanent Secretaries, ensuring that they are delivering within their departments
- More opportunities for interchange and secondments for civil servants between the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Civil Service
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
Mr Gove underlined the joint nature of tomorrow’s reform plans, with ministers and the Civil Service working in partnership to deliver the changes.
The strategy launched today provides concrete reform across three areas:
- People – ensuring that government and the Civil Service has the right people, working in the right places, with strengthened performance management, aligned to rewards and bonuses, with stepped-up and more strategic monitoring of departmental performance, including through enhanced roles for non-executive directors.
- Performance – modernising how government works by putting digital at the heart of everything we do; with clear-eyed prioritisation, objective setting and evaluation; and champions for innovation, science and technology.
- Partnership – strengthening the bond between ministers and officials, operating as one team from policy through to delivery and between central government and the institutions outside of it.
Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Simon Case said:
Civil Service Chief Operating Officer Alex Chisholm said:
The reform declaration can be read here.
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