Magazine article Public Finance

Learn from DCRs, Mandarins Urged

Magazine article Public Finance

Learn from DCRs, Mandarins Urged

Article excerpt

Whitehall departments should look upon their fledgling inspection regime as an opportunity to learn and improve, the new finance chief at the Department for Education and Skills said this week.

Addressing CIPFA's annual central government finance conference on October 3, Jon Thompson, director general of corporate services at the DfES, urged delegates to make the most of Departmental Capability Reviews.

'DCRs are a huge strand of development Use it to your advantage to learn,' he said. But he added that it was not the totality of the agenda, and individual departments should be able to set their own priorities.

The DfES was one of the first four departments to be subject to the new scrutiny exercises. Speaking to Public Finance after his session, Thompson, who has been in post since May, said the DCRs had been a useful exercise. 'What they told us resonated and drove us on and helped our improvement agenda,' he said. 'It's given some transparency to our performance.'

In a frank assessment of the impact of the DCR on the DfES's finance function, Thompson said the department was not yet as good as it might be at linking strategy to financial planning. …

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