Select Committee on Public Administration Minutes of Evidence

Annex B

The Prime Minister's Delivery Unit

  To strengthen the capacity of Whitehall to deliver the Government's key objectives the Prime Minister has established a Delivery Unit based in the Cabinet Office. The new unit reports to the Prime Minister and is under the day-to-day supervision of the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Lord Macdonald. It is headed by the Prime Minister's Chief Adviser on Delivery, Professor Michael Barber, who is based in No. 10 Downing Street.

  The role of the Unit is to ensure that the Government achieves its delivery priorities during this Parliament across the key areas of public service: health, education, crime, asylum and transport. The Unit's work will be carried out by a team of staff with practical experience of delivery, drawn from the public and private sectors.

  The Delivery Unit will:

    —  report regularly to the Prime Minister on progress towards achievement of these priorities—particularly successes and failures—and thus establish the agenda for his regular stocktake meetings with the Ministers concerned;

    —  help in holding the public service departments to account through the established PSX monitoring process to make sure that they meet their agreed PSA targets;

    —  ensure that, within departmental spending limits set in the spending review, problems of delivery are solved as rapidly as possible when they emerge, undertaking specific projects as necessary;

    —  sustain the Government's focus on the key objectives over time.

The Office of Public Service Reform (PSR)

  The Government is committed to creating a high standard, customer focused public services sector which delivers effectively to all stakeholders. In a recent speech the Prime Minister set out his key principles for public service reform:

    —  The setting of a framework of national priorities and a system of accountability;

    —  Within that framework to devolve power to frontline professionals and local leaders to innovate and develop services;

    —  Recognition of the work of frontline staff including better conditions of service and more flexible rewards;

    —  More choice for service users and alternative services where provision is below minimum standards.

  The Office of Public Services Reform, also in the Cabinet Office, advises the Prime Minister on how the Government can take forward its commitment to radical reform of the Civil Service and public services. It will consider how to enhance competence and capacity within the public services and will help implement frameworks for national standards and local innovation, ensuring intervention from the centre only when justified. The OPSR reports to the Prime Minister through the Secretary to the Cabinet.

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Prepared 20 November 2001