Select Committee on Public Administration Minutes of Evidence



  The Centre for Management and Policy Studies (CMPS), which is a unit of the Cabinet Office and which incorporates the Civil Service College, is re-focusing its efforts to support the work of the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit (PMDU) and the public service reform agenda, in line with the four principles set out in the Prime Minister's speech of 16 October. CMPS is working with other parts of Cabinet Office to build delivery into Government Departments' policy-making and practice in a number of different ways:

  1.  CMPS is working to strengthen the delivery culture at senior level. One of the main channels for doing so is corporate programmes, such as the Top Management Programme, for members of the Senior Civil Service (SCS). These programmes have been revised to ensure that there is a focus on delivery, for example through live case studies of organisations delivering in the public and private sectors and through learning about relevant skills, such as business planning. Over the past two years, CMPS has been working with other units in the Cabinet Office and with Departments to arrange networks and frequent events, bringing Ministers, members of the SCS and outside experts together in various forums to address cross-cutting delivery issues such as risk management, major projects and the focus on the citizen. Since the Election, CMPS has been working as a priority with the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit and the Office of Public Service Reform to devise approaches which will embed more effectively the culture and skills of delivery at senior level.

  2.  These initiatives at senior levels have been underpinned by the input of the Civil Service College Directorate of CMPS at the crucial middle management levels. All College programmes have been refocused around the priorities of improved service delivery and Civil Service reform. Particular emphasis has been placed on equipping these key managers with the skills of change management, project delivery and business planning.

  3.  CMPS is also working with the E-envoy to implement the recommendations the E-envoy's "Successful IT Projects" report. CMPS has designed a new Masterclass for Senior Responsible Owners (SROs) to cover one of the most urgent requirements identified in that report. This Masterclass has already run six times since its launch in September 2001, catering to 47 SROs, and is heavily in demand from others. Further training around the "Project Masterclass" theme is currently being designed in collaboration with the IT Directorate of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

  4.  Civil Service Corporate Management (CSCM) and CMPS are working together to implement the Central Government National Training Organisation (CGNTO) plan for "Developing 21st Century Skills". This has highlighted:

    (i)  the need to train policy-makers in the skills associated with implementation and delivery. CMPS is already introducing new courses focusing more specifically on delivery of policy, and the work continues with CGNTO to establish a range of formal qualifications in these essential policy skills;

    (ii)  the need for a wider range of project management training, covering all the different types and sizes of project which occur across the service. CSCM is identifying skills gaps and qualifications appropriate to each type of need. CMPS is responding by providing training which delivers these qualifications and correctly targets those who need them.

  5.  CMPS and CSCM have each contributed members to the Office of Public Service Reform's (OPSR) Improving Project and Programme Delivery (IPPD) project. This project is aimed at developing a tool-kit for Programme and Project Management, a process for assuring delivery of policies and designing new training activities to embed the relevant knowledge and skills in the places, and with the people, where they are most needed.

  6.  CMPS signed a partnership agreement with the Office of Government Commerce in February 2001 under which they are working together to disseminate best practice and promote commercial skills. They are currently devising a new "Government Commercial Skills" programme for launch in September 2002. This will offer coherent training pathways for developing all of the skills required for successful delivery, with particular emphasis on project and programme management.

  7.  The results of all this work, and of the increased awareness of these issues among CMPS customers, can be seen in both the nature and the volume of CMPS training activities:

    (i)  project management courses were re-designed to emphasise more strongly the PRINCE methodology being recommended by the work of CGNTO and OGC. CMPS has also introduced courses in programme management, again based on the methodology developed by OGC. The number of people undertaking project and programme training has risen from 577 in 2000-01 to a likely 792 (actual attendance plus future bookings as at 19 November 2001) for 2001-02.

    (ii)  courses for policy-makers. The range of courses covers: The Management of Policy Work, Effective Solutions in the Policy Area, Risk Analysis in the Policy Area, Making Policy Happen and Project Management for Policy Staff. These attracted 298 participants in 2000-01 and have already attracted (attendances plus future bookings as at 19 November 2001) 344 in 2001-02.

December 2001

previous page contents

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 18 January 2002