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New reviews show Government is ready to face future challenges

11 December 2008
CAB/119/08 

Four more Government departments are on track to meet the challenges of the 21st century, according to the latest round of capability re-reviews [External website].

The reviews, published today by the Cabinet Office outline the progress made by the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Communities and Local Government and the Cabinet Office itself since their performance was first assessed two years ago. The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills underwent a baseline assessment as it was only created last year.

BERR, CLG and the Cabinet Office all showed overall improvement, with a particularly strong showing in evidence-based decision making. DIUS performed well in its baseline review, with good scores in the majority of areas.

Sir Gus O' Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, said:

“As times change so does the nature of public services, and the Civil Service has to be ready for the new challenges we will face. All four departments that have been reviewed have much to be proud of. This is especially true of the three departments being re-reviewed, which have all taken great steps to implement the findings of the 2006 reports.

“We should not, however, become complacent.  This is why Capability Reviews are so important.  As well as highlighting our successes, the reports have also identified areas where we can improve, in an environment which will undoubtedly get more challenging.”

Speaking about the re-review for his own department, the Cabinet Office, Sir Gus said:

“I’m very proud of everyone at the Cabinet Office who has worked so hard to build on the findings of the original Capability Review.

“Today’s report demonstrates we are improving and highlights achievements including the rapid set-up of the National Economic Council, a new focus on cross-Government working and our seamless handling of the transition to a new Prime Minister.

“The review shows we have solid foundations and I’m confident we can build on them to make the Cabinet Office a truly world-class centre of Government.”

Each department was reviewed by a specially assembled team of reviewers drawn from the private sector, the wider public sector and board-level members of other government departments.

Richard Baker, Non-executive Chair of Virgin Active and a member of the Cabinet Office Review Team said:

“Capability Reviews are making a difference to departments and to the public. I have seen it first hand – the process is rigorous and challenging and compares well with similar practice in the private sector.”

This is the second tranche of Capability Re-Reviews. In July the first tranche saw publication of re-reviews for the Home Office, Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Notes to editors

  1. The reports are published at http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/accountability/capability [External website]
  2. For queries concerning the Capability Review process, please contact the Cabinet Office Press Office on 020 7276 2533