Cabinet Office

Policy Statement

We will run the Government efficiently and effectively, monitoring the performance and quality of services and generating continual improvement in the well-being of British citizens.

Performance Reporting

The Government will prepare an annual report giving an overall assessment of well-being among British citizens and its distribution and changes therein, analysing the total cost of Government and setting out objective measures of performance for each of the 13 purposes set out in policy statements.

Strategic Initiatives

Make ministerial appointments apolitical and on merit and adopt the UK Code of Corporate Governance for Government Departments

Adversarial politics, ministerial ego and short-termism related to the 5 year cycle of elections have devastated the machinery of Government which has been made progressively more complex – and expensive – over the last century.  Our main reform will be to reverse this.  Permanently – and quite quickly.  And we must deal with the problems of misinformation and lack of transparency in order to ensure that the press and electorate are fully informed and engaged in holding the government to account.

100 days:  We will not make Ministerial appointments immediately on taking office.  First we will require within 30 days a published report from each department, without ministerial input, on proposed initiatives to simplify, to improve customer service and to reduce cost.  This will allow us all to judge the ambition and capability of the Permanent Secretaries who we wish to become effectively the Chief Executives of their departments

1 year:  We will hold all-party discussions on revised parliamentary procedures to remove the adversarial approach.  We will appoint a Cabinet with a representative spread of political opinion and with technical competence not necessarily from the body of MPs.  Ministers will act as Chairmen working with the (Civil Service) Chief Executives.   The Cabinet will review and approve initiatives proposed by departments.  We will require departments to operate transparently and listen to press complaints thereon.  We will consider introducing legislation to make it a crime to mislead.  And we will build in safeguards against the  “power corrupts” problem by enshrining consultation into government and parliamentary procedure.

Longer term:  We will continue to improve with a special focus on simplification and cost reduction with the aim of significantly reducing Government spending from nearly 50% of GNP.  But we will not achieve that in one parliamentary term

Review IT strategy

It is intolerable that Government is unable to implement major systems such as that for the NHS.  But at the same time it is creditable that small developments have made significant improvements in many areas. We will bring a coherent and rational approach to the application of IT to Government.

100 days: We will commission a review of IT organisation and processes which will develop a strategy for “agile” implementation of a range of projects to produce continual improvement.

5 years: We will Implement the strategy and continually review this programme of development projects. IT development will be a continual activity.

Introduce an annual survey of well-being to show overall performance and required policy initiatives

This is such a powerful and simple idea that it is amazing that it has not been done before – a true testament to the inadequate management skills of politicians in general! The role of Government is to enhance the well-being of its citizens. So let’s be clear how well we are doing – no fudge, just facts. We will introduce an annual report which will allow citizens to judge Government performance on improvements to the well-being of the population. The power lies in the facts exposed – if we determine what makes people lastingly happy we can encourage more of it and we can help people avoid what makes them unhappy.

100 days: We will commission a study into the format of a report and data sources.

1 year: We will publish the first survey. The findings will inform policy decisions. We won’t pre-empt the findings but would expect to find issues in the causes and treatment of depression, relationships, binge drinking, unemployment, parenting and much more.

5 years and Longer term: We will publish a report annually so that we can all check progress and identify new initiatives to continually improve. We can have a relatively quick and growing impact on the well-being of the people of this country.

Institute rigorous performance reporting, including quality control and audit across the whole of Government

Adversarial politics and short-termism have left us an over-complex and expensive Civil Service structure which is ineffective and in need of performance management.

100 days: We will commission a review of performance measures and reporting thereon throughout Government and the Civil Service to ensure “joined up” activity planning. The definition of performance measures will be very quick and will have a fairly immediate effect in clarifying what we expect of our Civil Service – in particular removing the fudges and compromises that are the residue of short-term political decision making.

Longer term: The implementation of reporting systems will take several years, and will depend to some extent on the IT strategy, but we will make steady progress with continual improvement in performance as we go.

Complete the long standing Whole of Government (WoG) accounting review

It is outrageous that our Government cannot produce accounts to the same quality as our public companies. We will drive this project to a conclusion after many years of foot dragging.

100 days: Set the basis of accounting and the consolidated annual report for WoG.

5 years: Implement and continually improve. That’s all there is to it.

Reviews of procurement and HR

Nothing complicated – just joined up management

100 days: We will commission reviews

1 year: We will implement recommendations.

Include illegal immigration enquiries in the census procedure

No-one knows how many illegal immigrants there are in the country. We don’t need a witch hunt but we also don’t want to be a soft touch. As a straightforward aid to this effort, the census every 10 years is an ideal opportunity to identify some illegal immigrants.

100 days: We will issue an instruction for the Office of National Statistics and the Home Office to co-operate in the next census.

Review strategic processes

Strategy in Government is an odd animal. Unlike company strategy it is not driven by external trends and customer demand. It is mainly a collation of a variety of improvement initiatives and so it is fairly simple. But some cross-department co-ordination is necessary so it will be good to review the strategic processes that exist. At minimum letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing will be beneficial.

1 year: We will commission a review of strategic processes and implement its findings.

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