Appendix 1: Letter from Mr Bernard Jenkin
MP to all Permanent Secretaries, April 2011|
As part of its ambition to bring about a "Big
Society" the Government has set out a reform agenda involving
greater decentralisation of power and enhanced social action at
local levels alongside proposals for considerable reform of public
At the same time the Spending Review commits the
Government to a large reduction in departmental administration
costs by an average of a third.
Except for a fundamental review of arms length bodies
the machinery of government has been left largely unchanged. However,
the need for profound changes to the size and role of the Civil
Service appear implicit in the Government's ideas for a Big Society
and as a consequence of spending reductions.
As part of its inquiry into good governance and civil
service reform the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC)
would like to obtain a better understanding of the changes which
are facing departments at present and how they plan to meet them.
In particular it would like to know:
- What impact, if any, are the
reforms envisaged in the Government's 'Big Society agenda' likely
to have on the way your department is organised and operates?
If there are no consequences for your department
organisational structure as a consequence of the Big Society agenda
please explain why this is the case.
- What structural reforms, if
any, will be required in your department as a result of the reductions
in running costs arising from the Spending Review?
If no structural change is required, what action
are you taking to achieve the required reduction in administrative
- How do you intend to implement
these changes? Do you have a formal plan in place, and if so what
are its objectives, and timelines?
- What consideration has been given to retaining
or acquiring those skill setsfor example (i) expertise
in contracting and commissioning or (ii) facilitating community
leadership and social actionnecessary to deliver the Government's
- What lessons do you draw from previous reforms
either within your department, from other departments, or from
other organisations outside central government?
- Does your reform process involve other government
departments or public bodies?
The inquiry is coming towards its concluding stages
and I look forward to receiving your responses by the 13 May
to enable us to finalise our Report.