Magazine article Public Finance

PASC Urges Action on Civil Service Bill

Magazine article Public Finance

PASC Urges Action on Civil Service Bill

Article excerpt

MPs and the public standards watchdog this week called on ministers to implement a civil service Act as a matter of urgency.

The public administration select committee urged greater clarity on the relationship between civil servants and ministers.

Its report, published on March 26, said it was no longer enough to lay responsibility for all delivery failures at the feet of ministers. But, it added, neither could civil servants be made scapegoats when failures were not their fault.

The committee said a new 'public service bargain', underpinned by a good governance code, was needed.

It cited the Home Offices new compact between ministers and officials as the kind of agreement that was required.

PASC chair Tony Wright said claims that the civil service was being politicised missed the point.

He said: '[We should not] allow the knee-jerk charge of politicisation to prevent us reviewing the role of ministers in civil service appointments and of those charged with running key public bodies.

'We should also have the confidence to introduce a civil service Bill to enshrine the fundamental constitutional relationship.'

Demands for such an Act also came from Sir Alistair Graham, outgoing chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. …

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