Since their introduction in the 1998 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), Public Service Agreements (PSAs) have played a vital role in galvanising public service delivery and driving major improvements in outcomes. Building on this success, over the past two years the Government has been working with frontline professionals, the public and external experts to renew the performance management framework for the next decade.
The culmination of this work was the announcement in the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 (CSR 2007) in October 2007 of 30 new PSAs. These set out the Government's highest priority outcomes for the CSR 2007 period, 2008/09 to 2010/11.
Each PSA is underpinned by a single Delivery Agreement, shared across all contributing departments, and developed in consultation with delivery partners and frontline workers.
They also describe the small basket of national outcome-focussed performance indicators that will be used to measure progress towards each PSA. A subset of indicators also have specific national targets or minimum standards attached. Details are set out in the relevant Delivery Agreement. All other national indicators are expected to improve against baseline trends over the course of the spending period.
A Government-wide commitment to build services around the needs of citizens and businesses will be integral to the achievement of each of the PSA. Also published in the CSR was a Service Transformation Agreement (STA), which underpins delivery of the new PSA framework, setting out the Government's vision for building services around the citizen and specific actions for each department in taking forward this challenging agenda.
The 30 PSA Delivery Agreements and the Service Transformation Agreement are all available on the HM Treasury website at 2007 PBR CSR: Public service agreements [External website].
CSR 2007 announced that the Cabinet Office would lead on delivery of one PSA and the Service Transformation Agreement (STA).
In addition Cabinet Office will be the delivery partner for three other PSAs.
In CSR, all the main Government departments set themselves varying numbers of Departmental Strategic Objectives (DSOs) which are intended to cover the wider span of departmental activities, including business as usual, while at the same time underpin delivery of Government's highest priorities as set out in the 30 PSAs.
Details of Cabinet Office's six DSOs and key performance indicators that we will use to assess their delivery and where applicable, their contribution to the Government's Public Service Agreements can be found at Departmental Strategic Objectives 2008-2011.