MPs to examine effectiveness of civil service

21 Apr 16

MPs have launched a wide-ranging inquiry into the role and structure of the civil service after concluding the government’s reform plan “fell short of addressing fundamental questions” about its future role.

The public administration and constitutional affairs select committee will examine whether the structure and organisation of the civil service needs to change to reflect devolution and other governance changes, as well as considering its effectiveness in policy delivery.

Launching the review, the committee stated the government’s civil service reforms left fundamental questions about the design of Whitehall.

To follow up on the committee’s September 2013 report in the last parliament, MPs will consider the effectiveness of the civil service in delivering government policy and how well it learns from past successes and failures. The review will look at the service’s collective capabilities as well as the skills of individual civil servants.

It will also consider whether the current civil service has a coherent identity in light of devolution across the country and the growth in both arm’s-length bodies and outsourcing in public services.

The extent to which the 2012 reform plan was successful will also be examined, as well as considering how resistant the civil service is to change.

It is likely the review will consider the role of non-executive directors after the last 2013 report concluded “a review of their value and effectiveness should be part of any comprehensive review of the civil service”.

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