Internal reform: Govt lays out departments’ business plans

By staff

The way in which government departments operate underwent a sea-change today with the publication of full business plans.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Sir Gus O’ Donnell attended an event in central London to publicise the move, which will force through the first stage of the government’s plans for internal reform.

The top 200 civil servants in the country will also be attending the event, which will set out implementation plans for transparency and streamlining.

But the prime minister was criticised for only taking questions from officials and not journalists at the event, leading to wry comparisons with his trip to China tonight.

Every item of government spending over £25,000 will soon be published online, in a bid to reduce the size and cost of the state, it was announced.

Ministers who fail to deliver on their timetable for reform will have to explain themselves to Oliver Letwin, minister of state for the Cabinet Office.

In a similar system to that employed when inflation targets are missed, ministers will have to write public letters explaining what has happened if plans do not proceed on time.

“The last government tried to make things happen through a system of bureaucratic accountability,” Mr Cameron said.

“There were obvious problems with that system. It bred bureaucracy. It created inefficiency and unintended consequences. It crushed morale in the public sector. And, perhaps less obviously, it encouraged short-term thinking.

“The target culture pressured people to go for short-term wins at the expense of long-term improvements. Today we are turning that on its head.”