Britain’s system of public sector accountability is failing to keep up with the realities of modern government, a think-tank has warned.
In a report published this week, the Institute for Government (IfG) cautioned that ‘weak accountability increases the risk of failure of public services – whether through financial mismanagement, chronic underperformance or the collapse of services’.
The report found patterns of failure occurring repeatedly.
Typically, this involved ministers and civil servants blaming each other when things go wrong, limiting the chances of lessons being learned.
Examples of this include the rollout of Universal Credit and, most recently, the Grenfell Tower blaze and Windrush immigration scandal.
Even when ministers are clearly at fault, many are not held to account, the think-tank said.
IfG researcher, Benoit Guerin, said: ‘A lack of accountability is worrying because it increases the risk of failure and decreases legitimacy of the state in the eyes of the public.’