Second-tier government departments are failing to deliver despite strong leadership, according to the second round of capability reviews published by cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell.
Reviews of the performance of the DTI, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Cabinet Office have been released alongside a summary paper on the key themes emerging from all of the reviews so far.
O’Donnell also announced the creation of a Civil Service Steering Board of senior permanent secretaries and non-executives to oversee the transformation of the service and employee relations.
Capability reviews were announced for all government departments in October 2005.
O’Donnell said: “Our challenge is to raise the whole of the Civil Service to the level of the very best: building a culture of excellence everywhere in the service.
“We have to improve management at the top, through rigorous performance management and intervention where necessary. We must listen to what those who use public services are saying to us. We have to improve our own capability and skills. And we need to drive improvements in quality.”
Commenting on the three new reviews, O’Donnell said: “The first set of reviews was of four big delivery departments. The second are about smaller departments where the key is not just delivery but influence.
“Perhaps it’s not a surprise that the scores on delivery are slightly lower than in the first set [of reviews], although the scores on leadership are strong. The reports show each department has had much success to celebrate in all its core areas.”
O’Donnell said he had been encouraged by the “strong response” from the departments.
The first four reviews were published in July and covered the Home Office, the Departments for Constitutional Affairs, the Department for Education and Skills, and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The capability reviews of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; the Ministry of Defence; the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and the Department for International Development will be published in spring 2007.