Equality and Human Rights Commission - Public Accounts Committee Contents

3. Memorandum from the Government Equalities Office


  The Comptroller and Auditor General's Supplementary Memorandum on the EHRC, being prepared for the PAC hearing now scheduled for 2 December, mentions that the Government Equalities Office and the EHRC jointly commissioned an independent "lessons learned" review into the setting up of the EHRC.

  As discussed with Amyas Morse, I enclose a summary of the report of the review for your information. I am not presenting the report formally as evidence for the hearing although I would of course be happy to send copies formally to your Committee once the hearing has taken place if you think the Committee would find that helpful. I think the review (by Jo Durning, a former senior civil servant) helpfully brings out some key lessons applicable to the setting up of new Non Departmental Public Bodies (and mergers of existing ones). They include the importance of:

    — realistic timetables and a willingness to consider delaying start dates when faced with major risks to successful set-up, such as machinery of government changes;

    — early recruitment of leaders to give them time to shape the organisation and recruit the right staff;

    — effective interim governance arrangements, especially whilst a new Chair/Board is working with an interim executive team; and

    — both transition teams and sponsor departments having the right mix of skills (including knowledge of Government and, ideally, experience of setting up an NDPB).

  I hope this is of interest.

  As the purpose of the review was to identify lessons for NDPB mergers and start-ups, including where machinery of government changes affect the sponsoring arrangements within Government, I have sent a copy of the report to Cabinet Office and Whitehall Principal Accounting Officers to encourage inter-departmental consideration of the issues it raises.

4 November 2009

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