Government sets out Declaration on Government Reform

Jun 18, 2021

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, today endorsed the Policy Exchange Reform of Government Commission report Government Reimagined as an ‘excellent report’ following a speech announcing a new Declaration on Government ReformThe speech set out a series of commitments to reform government in the shadow of COVID-19, echoing recommendations made in Government Reimagined: A Handbook for Reform. These included commitments to implement capability-based pay, to recruit a dedicated Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for all major projects, to introduce training for ministers and to hold Permanent Secretaries to account against their departments’ outcome delivery plans.

Policy Exchange’s Reform of Government Commission, chaired by Dame Patricia Hodgson published its report Government Reimagined: A Handbook for Reform, in May. The report, authored by Policy Exchange’s Head of Technology Policy, Benjamin Barnard, argued that the Government must embark on a comprehensive modernisation and reform programme.

The Commission heard from a range of expert witnesses, including Lord Sedwill, former Cabinet Secretary; Lord Blunkett, former Home Secretary; and Lord Maude, former Cabinet Office minister. The Commission was comprised of the following members:

  • Dame Patricia Hodgson (Chair), former Chairman of Ofcom and former Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge
  • Rt Hon Hazel Blears, former Communities Secretary and former Chairwoman of the Labour Party
  • Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith, former New Zealand High Commissioner to the UK and former Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
  • Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court, former Treasury Permanent Secretary
  • Trevor Phillips, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange
  • Rt Hon Marquess of Salisbury, former Leader of the House of Lords
  • General Sir Peter Wall, former Chief of the General Staff
  • Lord Caine of Temple Newsam, former Special Adviser to six Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland
  • Rt Hon Baroness Morgan of Cotes, former Education Secretary
  • Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor
  • Rt Hon Lord Hill of Oareford, former European Commissioner (until November 2020, when he was appointed by the Chancellor to lead the Review of the UK Financial Services Listing Regime)

The report was endorsed by a range of figures including Sir Howard Bernstein (former Chief Executive of Manchester City Council), Lord Sedwill (former Cabinet Secretary), Rt Hon Lord Blunkett (former Home Secretary) and Dame Sue Owen (former Permanent Secretary at DCMS). Read coverage of the report in The Financial TimesThe Daily Telegraph and The TimesDame Patricia Hodgson appeared on LBCRadio 4’s Today ProgrammeTimes Radio and Sky News to discuss the report. Benjamin Barnard has also written for Reaction outlining the Commission’s proposals. Read the paper in full here.

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