Select Committee on Public Administration Minutes of Evidence


  1.  At the Select Committee hearing on 31 January 2001, Mr Turner commented that during the Committee's visit to Newcastle he had gained the impression that GO-NE seemed to be a DETR-driven regional office (Question 1041). This note sets out the background to GO-NE's work on behalf of a number of Government departments.

  2.  The mission statement for all the Government Offices is "To work with regional partners and local people to maximise competitiveness and prosperity in the regions and to support integrated policies for an inclusive society". As part of this, one role of senior staff is to communicate policy to the region and to provide feedback to Departments on the views of opinion formers, across a very wide range of policies.

  3.  GO-NE's functions cover the full range of regional work for DTI, DfEE and DETR; an important crime reduction remit for the Home Office; and the regional presence of DCMS. In addition the office has secondees from the NHS, Police, Local Authorities and Asylum Seekers Support Service; and a European Programmes Secretariat, aimed at socio-economic development, which includes about 15 staff seconded from partner organisations in the region. From April 2001 the office will gain a Rural Directorate of seven staff from MAFF, led by a senior civil servant from MAFF.

  4.  The office carries out two particular national functions throught the Residential Training Unit for DfEE, and the Local Authority Orders Unit for DETR. GO-NE is co-located with COI and the Drugs Prevention Advisory Service, and currently accommodates Trade Partners UK and the Small Business Service's regional management team for DTI; it works closely with all of them.

  5.  Government Offices work on the principle that, although staff are nominally allocated to specific departments for pay purposes, all are GO citizens who can be posted—on merit—to jobs outside their original department. This is an illustration of the principle of joined-up working, set during the foundation of the GOs and reiterated in the PIU "Reaching Out" report. In GO-NE over half of the staff either work for a Department other than the one they joined, or work for several Departments on cross cutting issues.

  6.  The departmental origins of the GO's Senior Civil Service team are as follows:

    —  Regional Director, Bob Dobbie—DTI

    —  Director of Competitiveness, Industry and Europe, Rob Fallon—DTI

    —  Director of Education Skills and Regeneration, Denise Caudle—DETR

    —  Director of Planning Enviornment and Transport, Jim Darlington—DETR

  In addition there are three Grade six Directors, just below SCS level, one each from the Home Office, DfEE and DETR.

  7.  Approximately 30 staff (21 per cent of the current staff in post) have direct experience of working in departmental headquarters. Most of the staff were originally recruited to the civil service from the North East, and have spent their careers in a variety of offices in the region.


13 February 2001

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