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Government gets set for challenges of the next decade

Government gets set for challenges of the next decade

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 14 December 2009

The Civil Service has shown it continues to improve its capability as it prepares to tackle the challenges of the coming decade, Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell said today.

Sir Gus was speaking as the Cabinet Office published an overview of the Capability Review programme, which was introduced in 2005 to assess departments' ability to meet current and future challenges.

This report marks the completion of a full set of re-reviews for all of the major government departments.

Sir Gus O'Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, said:

"When I launched the Capability Review programme, nothing like it had been attempted in Whitehall before. It represented a real breakthrough in openness and accountability and I am delighted that, four years on, the programme has not only been delivered successfully but has also driven real improvement and reform across the Civil Service.

"But there is no room for complacency - we have much more to do. We have now refreshed the review model to put a focus on innovation, efficiency and delivery, and in future the Capability Review approach will be extended to key arms-length bodies."

The fifth tranche of reviews and re-reviews was also published today. The Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) were both re-reviewed, while the year-old Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) underwent a baseline assessment. The Serious Fraud Office was also reviewed after its managers saw how the review process had helped central government departments improve. The Treasury and HMRC have both shown an overall improvement, despite the pressures of the global economic downturn. DECC has had successes in its first year and the SFO is being transformed rapidly.

Review teams comprise members drawn from the private sector, the wider public sector and board level members of other government departments.

Peter Ellwood CBE, chairman of FTSE 100 company Rexam PLC and one of the private sector reviewers, said:

"I have been actively involved in the Capability Review Programme from the beginning. As an external reviewer for the original round of reviews, for a 12 month assurance assessment and again in a recent two-year review, I have seen how the programme has developed and the very positive and receptive way in which a review is genuinely used by a government department to deliver real improvement in its capability."

Notes to editors

1. The latest tranche of reviews and the review of the whole process are published at

2. For queries concerning the Capability Review process, please contact the Cabinet Office Press Office on 020 7276 1273

3. Questions about the reviews of specific departments should be directed to departmental press offices.

4. This is the fifth tranche of re- reviews and marks the completion of phase two of the Capability Review programme. A revised model for future reviews was announced by Sir Gus O'Donnell in July 2009.

Cabinet Office Press Office 22 Whitehall LONDON SW1A 2WH
Tel: 020 7276 0436 - Fax: 020 7276 1146

Out of hours telephone 07699 113300 and ask for pager number 721338

CAB 114-09


Cabinet Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7276 1273
Fax: 020 7276 0618

Alexandra Marklew
Phone: 0207 276 0436

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