Britian's most senior civil servants could be dismissed if they fail to promptly implement Government policy, the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude suggested yesterday, as he drafted in a think tank to come up with plans to reform Whitehall.
Mr Maude said the Institute for Public Policy Research had been commissioned to examine the advantages of Britain adopting a system of greater civil service accountability. Researchers will study how governments operate in Australia, Singapore, the US, France and Sweden and report back to the Cabinet Office by Christmas. There will be a particular focus on the system in New Zealand, where senior civil servants have a contractual responsibility to their ministers to push policies through.
Mr Maude said reform was necessary because the experience of ministers – both in this Government and the last – had been that their decisions had not always been acted upon. "Ministers who are democratically accountable must be able to get what they decide implemented," he said.