William Eichler 21 July 2016

Whitehall lacks ‘coherent framework’ for enacting long-term policy, NAO says

Whitehall lacks ‘coherent framework’ for enacting long-term policy, NAO says image

The Government has no 'coherent framework' for implementing decisions made in the spending review, auditors say.

The National Audit Office (NAO) today published two reports into the way the Government manages and plans its business and concluded the current processes do not add up to an effective framework for enacting policy.

The reports - The Spending Review 2015 and Government's management of its performance: progress with single departmental plans - said the effects of the lack of a coherent framework can be seen in examples of poor value for money and a lack of long-term, joined-up thinking.

The NAO’s report into the 2015 spending review criticised HM Treasury’s strong focus on the spending review period to 2020. It argued this meant less attention was paid to longer-term funding decisions or impacts.

The Spending Review 2015 said taxpayers have a right to expect decisions taken in spending reviews to be based on robust data, not only on government policy commitments.

It also noted the treasury’s approach to the spending review remains rooted in bilateral negotiation and does not sufficiently incentivise collaboration across departments.

The NAO found many departments are using the single departmental plans (SDPs) to improve their business planning and monitoring of performance.

However, Government's management of its performance warned SDPs do not provide the degree of Parliamentary accountability that Whitehall has promised.

‘Time and again, we find that problems in the delivery of public services can be traced back to the way Government goes about planning and managing business in pursuit of an administration’s policy objectives,’ Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said.

‘Instead of an enduring framework that supports coherent strategic planning, effective business management and accountability, the current approach amounts to a collection of top-down, set-piece processes and guidance that fail to make the most of the understanding and expertise across government.

‘We welcome the process improvements in the most recent spending review, and the signs of improvement in individual departments’ business planning, but government must make a deeper cultural change if it is to make a lasting difference to its performance, and narrow the gap in accountability and transparency.’

‘This is all the more important as a new administration, with redefined and urgent objectives, seeks to hit the ground running,’ he added.

Highways jobs

Senior Manager – Older Adults – Residential Care

Cumbria County Council
£68,709 - £71,218
This pivotal role requires leadership and management of the Council's twenty in house Residential Care services Carlisle, Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Co-ordinators

Buckinghamshire Council
£30,874 - £37,188 per annum
Interested in a career as an EHC Coordinator? Come along to our drop-in event to meet members of the SEND team and find out more about the role! England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recuriter: Buckinghamshire Council

Interim Head of Housing and Regulatory Services

Tile Hill
£400-800 per day
Interim Head of Housing role working with an award winning council in the North West. North West
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Senior Technical Officer

Newport City Council
£30,507 - £33,799
We are pleased to be seeking individuals to fill a new Senior Technical Officer post within Highways.    Newport (Casnewydd)
Recuriter: Newport City Council

Assistant Director – Digital & Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Wigan Council
Competitive Salary
The next phase of our digital journey must also reflect the ambitions across our organisations to drive forward at pace our agendas Wigan, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Wigan Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine