Civil servant jobs to depend on appraisals by politicians
Cabinet Office minister wants Whitehall review to stop officials from hindering policies
Ministers are to get direct input into the annual appraisals of their permanent secretaries amid concerns that some civil servants are attempting to "pick and choose" which policies to implement, the Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, has said.
Mr Maude claimed there was frustration among some ministers that their policy proposals were not being taken seriously by senior officials. As a result, ministers are to be given greater powers to review the performance of their top Whitehall staff in an attempt to make them more compliant. Such appraisals can affect pay and bonuses.
Mr Maude's comments come just weeks after he announced that he was commissioning research from outside Whitehall to look at civil-service-accountability models in other countries, including the US, Australia and New Zealand. He is believed to favour increasing direct political input into senior civil-service appointments – to ensure that they are more accountable to the government of the day. Among the plans being looked at are putting the most senior civil servants on fixed-term contracts which would require them to tender their resignation when a new government is elected. It would then be up to incoming ministers whether to reappoint them.
Speaking to Civil Service World, Mr Maude said he wanted to ensure that senior officials could be discouraged from using the Coalition to ignore certain policies being promoted by their ministers. "Are there ministers frustrated that what they've decided doesn't always happen? Yes, absolutely. [Civil servants should not] pick and choose which bits of the government programme they want to implement."
Asked whether the new appraisal system would help to address the problem, Mr Maude said: "It will help. It's all about what the stimuli are."
Neither the move to involve ministers in appraisals nor the commissioning of research from outside Whitehall into how the civil service operates was included in the Government's recently published Civil Service Reform Plan.
Asked why such a significant change as ministerial involvement in appraisals had not been included, Mr Maude replied: "We'd assumed that this is what happened [in every department], and then it was discovered that it wasn't happening automatically so we felt that it should be incorporated."
He also hinted at further additions to the reform plan – a move likely to cause concern among officials. Other areas that could be looked at include the further slimming and reorganisation of Whitehall departments, drawing on a pilot currently being conducted in the Department for Education.
"We absolutely said from the outset that this is not a finished product; this is not the end of civil-service reform for all time," he said. "The idea that you achieve a state of perfection and then manage steady state is long gone."
Mr Maude has been encouraged to take a bolder line and given private encouragement by former Labour ministers who felt they faced resistance to any decision that ran counter to departmental thinking.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence's own witness contradicts athlete's version of events
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
Almost 40m gallons of drinking water discarded – because a man urinated in it
Peaches Geldof funeral: Private ceremony to be held at same place as her mother Paula Yates on Easter Monday
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 3 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...