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Civil Service

Volume 401: debated on Wednesday 19 March 2003

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To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent assessment he has made of the efficiency of the Civil Service; and if he will make a statement. [101277]

Government Departments are already subject to a range of similar external checks and disciplines:

performance of departments in delivering their PSA targets is assessed regularly by the Cabinet Committee on public services (PSX);
departments are required to publish details of performance twice a year through departmental reports and the new autumn performance reports. These are subject to scrutiny through Parliament's departmental select committees;
overall performance of departments is assessed every two years through the Spending Reviews when new budgets and targets are set;
the Head of the Home Civil Service will be holding regular meetings with heads of departments to discuss progress on 'departmental change programmes'. The personal performance of individual Permanent Secretaries is also reviewed annually through the Permanent Secretaries' Remuneration Committee;
the National Audit Office undertakes a programme of detailed value for money studies covering the activities of each departments, and Accounting Officers may be called before the Public Accounts Committee;
the management of individual projects is subject to detailed scrutiny through the 'gateway' process led by the Office of Government Commerce.
Taken together these processes provide substantial pressure for the improvement of performance, and a high degree of accountability and transparency.