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The Osmotherly Rules

Volume 586: debated on Friday 17 October 2014

On 2 October 2014 the Prime Minister announced that John Manzoni had been appointed to the new position of Chief Executive of the Civil Service. Details of that announcement can be found on

The Government have also published the latest progress report on Civil Service reform. This report can also be found on

Our Civil Service Reform Plan committed to reviewing the Osmotherly Rules—the guidance to departments governing the nature of Ministers “and civil servants” interactions with Select Committees. Following consultation with the Liaison Committee I will today publish updated guidance on This restates the primacy of the principle of ministerial accountability but confirms that the Senior Responsible Owners (SROs) of the Government’s major projects (as defined by the Major Project Authority’s Portfolio) will now be directly accountable to Parliament for the implementation of their project. We also confirm that former Accounting Officers can be called to give evidence about their previous responsibilities within a reasonable time period. We will publish a list of SROs in due course and update it periodically.

The updated guidance is available at: