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Press Release

Press Releases

Cabinet Office: Publication of Permanent Secretary objectives

Cabinet Office press release

For the first time, the objectives of Permanent Secretaries who head Whitehall's main departments, as well as those of the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, will be published online as part of reforms to increase the accountability of the Civil Service.

The objectives will be agreed in advance with Ministers and the Prime Minister and updated periodically, including when Ministers or the Permanent Secretaries change. They will clarify what is expected of every Permanent Secretary and will allow people to judge their performance against these objectives and hold them to account if they don't deliver.

The Civil Service Reform Plan, published in June, set out our plans to create an exceptional Civil Service that delivers the best for Britain. Rising public expectations, coupled with spending cuts, mean the Civil Service needs to change.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

"Publishing the objectives of Permanent Secretaries is an important step towards reforming the Civil Service and sharpening its accountability to Ministers and the public. Everyone can now judge how well the most senior civil servants are doing at getting best value for taxpayers' money and delivering the government's objectives.

"This is a bold move, which will highlight the Permanent Secretaries who are effectively serving the government and the public, while holding the feet of all to the fire.

"The world is changing and so must the Civil Service. We are in a global race, and are faced with rising public expectations and spending cuts to deal with the deficit. The Civil Service needs to do things faster, be smaller and to provide more services online. It needs to be more open and less bureaucratic, so that civil servants are trusted to get on and be accountable for what they achieve. It also needs to be more unified so we have an exceptional Civil Service delivering the best for Britain."

At the same time, the Government is publishing information on the operational and commercial experience of Permanent Secretaries from the 15 main delivery departments. Just over a quarter of current Permanent Secretaries had high levels of operational and commercial experience prior to their appointment as a Permanent Secretary. We will build on this baseline to achieve the expectation, set out in the Civil Service Reform Plan, that half of new appointments will have at least two years' such experience.

Head of the Civil Service Sir Bob Kerslake said:

"Publication today fulfils the commitment to publish we made when we launched the Civil Service Reform Plan. With the publication of salaries and expenses of senior civil servants this makes the UK Civil Service one of the most open and accountable in the world."

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