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Lord Maude to lead review into Civil Service governance and accountability

A new independent review will be launched into governance and accountability in the Civil Service.

A new independent review will be launched today (Wednesday 27 July) into the wiring of Whitehall, looking at the efficiency and effectiveness of how government works and decisions are enacted.

The Governance and Accountability review will be led by former Cabinet Office Minister Lord Maude, who will chair the work and recommend ways to make government more efficient in autumn.

The review delivers on commitments in the Declaration on Government Reform to look at how the Civil Service functions and will evaluate how well the current system delivers on government commitments.

It will examine the duties of Ministers and top officials in governing the Civil Service, including the balance of their respective responsibilities and whether civil servants are sufficiently empowered to deliver against expectations, as well as the effectiveness of Cabinet and its Committees.

The way in which Cabinet decisions are implemented will be considered as part of this, such as how Cabinet Secretariat teams inform, record and monitor actions.

The role of Departmental Boards and Non-Executive Directors in the smooth running of departments will also be reviewed, along with the work of Civil Service wide boards in driving efficiency across Whitehall.

Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency, Jacob Rees-Mogg said:

The public rightly expects the government to be a well-oiled machine, with clear lines of accountability ensuring government is making the best decisions possible and extracting maximum value from taxpayers’ money.

Lord Maude is uniquely qualified to lead this review. Leveraging his vast experience of public sector reform will help us learn lessons from the pandemic and better deliver on the British public’s priorities.

Former Cabinet Office minister and review Chair, Lord Maude said:

I was delighted that last year’s Declaration on Government Reform included the commitment to commission this review.  The commitment was made in the joint names of the Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Head of the Civil Service, who both clearly recognised the need for it.  I am happy to accept the Government’s invitation to conduct this review.

The way government makes decisions, how they are implemented, and how Ministers and officials are held to account, are all essential to delivering good outcomes for  our citizens.

I will seek views from current and former Ministers and civil servants, and  will draw on lessons from other governments.

Departmental experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic will be evaluated as part of the review, with evidence being gathered from across government, experts in the private sector and other administrations around the world.

As a former Minister with significant experience in government and the private sector, including extensive experience of managing public sector efficiency and reform, Lord Maude is uniquely qualified to lead the review.

He will be supported by a Secretariat based in the Cabinet Office and will deliver his recommendations to the Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency.

The review is being sponsored by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Antonia Romeo.

Notes to editors

You can read the review’s terms of reference here.

The review Chair is an unpaid role.

The Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency has commissioned an independent Review to deliver on Actions 29 and 30 from the 2021 Declaration on Government Reform:

  • Action 29: Complete a review of Civil Service governance, including consideration of the appropriate roles for senior officials, Non-Executive Directors and Ministers.
  • Action 30: Complete a review of models of accountability for decisions, drawing on international best practice and experiences during the pandemic and taking account of the role and design of ministerial directions.

The existing rights of and accountabilities to Parliament will be respected. The review will not consider any issues relating to taxation or the public spending accountability framework or governance processes, which are the responsibility of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and continue to be reviewed and updated as required through existing processes.

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