Through spending reviews, HM Treasury (the Treasury) sets spending limits for departments over approximately three to five years, by reference to fiscal forecasts from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The last spending review, in 2015, allocated £4 trillion for total public spending for the five years to 2020–21 and the next review is due in 2019. The Treasury controls spending through its 20 spending teams, which make up around one fifth of the Treasury’s total workforce. Departments, led by accounting officers, plan and deliver their objectives and are accountable for their delegated budgets. The Cabinet Office monitors the delivery of departments’ objectives and government policy. It oversees departmental planning and since 2015 has required departments to prepare an annual internal business plan, known as a single departmental plan (SDP). SDPs set out how departments will carry out their objectives, deliver services and track performance. In 2016, the previous Committee recommended that the Treasury and Cabinet Office work together on an approach that would ensure value for money across government, in time for the next spending review.
Published: 8 February 2019