Magazine article Public Finance

Some Mandarins Merely 'Going through the Motions on DCRs'

Magazine article Public Finance

Some Mandarins Merely 'Going through the Motions on DCRs'

Article excerpt

Permanent secretaries at some Whitehall departments have been accused of not taking their capability assessments seriously enough.

The first independent evaluation of the Cabinet Office's Departmental Capability Review programme, published by the National School of Government on November 9, found considerable variation in the extent to which the challenges from DCRs have been taken to heart by departments'.

DCRs were set up by Cabinet secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell in 2005 as part of former prime minister Tony Blair's plan to improve public services. The reviews, which are undertaken by the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit, are similar to the Comprehensive Performance Assessments for local government, but assess departments' future capabilities to deliver services.

The study, by the NSG's Sunningdale Institute, is broadly supportive of the reviews, which have been more robust than many experts anticipated. It found that no department had dismissed its DCR entirely and that the reviews had proved fit for purpose of launching a reform process'.

But it had serious concerns that some departments were not following up recommendations. …

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