1. As part of our regular scrutiny of the Department
for Transport's Annual Reports, we held evidence sessions on 24
October 2007 and 30 January 2008 on the 2007 Report.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly MP, and the Permanent
Secretary, Mr Robert Devereux, gave oral evidence at both sessions.
We are grateful to our witnesses, and to officials at the Department
for Transport for responding to our supplementary questions.
2. This report focuses on the efficiency and
effectiveness of the Department, with particular emphasis on the
performance of the Department in meeting its Public Service Agreement
(PSA) targets set in the Spending Review 2004, which covers the
3. The work of the Department is high on the
political agenda. Its decisions affect not only the transport
system but also the wider economy and environment. The Department
for Transport controls a very substantial budget, totalling £13.7
billion in 2006-07.
The Secretary of State has said that, in keeping with the spirit
of the Stern report, the Department should be seen equally as
an 'economic' department and a 'green' department, pursuing economic
growth as well as tackling greenhouse gas emissions. In her view,
there need not be any contradiction between the two.
4. In 2007, the Cabinet Office reviewed the ability
of the Department for Transport to deliver future programmes and
targets through a Capability Review. The Department was assessed
as 'strong' or 'well placed' on four of the ten indicators used
in the analysis. Four
elements were assessed as 'development areas', and two as 'urgent
development areas'. The areas deemed to need urgent development
were taking "responsibility for leading delivery and change"
and developing "clear roles, responsibilities and business
model(s)". There were no areas causing "serious concerns".
Overall, this assessment places the Department close to the Whitehall
average in terms of the capacity to deliver future programmes
5. Mr Devereux reported that two key action points
had already been implemented to improve leadership within the
Department: the creation of an effective Board, and a clear standard
of leadership across the Department and its agencies. The Capability
Review team had recently returned to the Department for a six-month
The Capability Review team found that, in the six months since
their original assessment, the Department had made progress in
implementing effective leadership strategies. The Committee
is pleased to learn that the Department has taken appropriate
and swift action to rectify some of the concerns identified in
the Capability Review. Much still remains to be done, and we will
monitor progress in this area, and return to these issues when
we examine the Department's 2008 Annual Report.
1 Department for Transport Annual Report 2007, Cm 7095 Back
Department for Transport Resource Accounts 2006-07, HC 766, page
22, net total resource outturn 2006-07. Back
Cabinet Office Report, Capability Review of the Department
for Transport, June 2007 Back