The Cabinet Office and the Centre of Government

HL 30, Fourth Report of Session 2009-10 Report with Evidence

Author:
House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution
Publisher:
TSO (The Stationery Office)

In 'The Cabinet Office and the Centre of Government (HL 30)' the House of Lords Constitution Committee suggest that power within the cabinet has become increasingly centralised to the Prime Minister and recommend that structures of accountability should be reformed to mirror that change.

The Committee expresses support for the principles of collective responsibility but recognise that increasingly the Cabinet Office has become responsible for overseeing the delivery of government policy across departments. They stress that accountability mechanisms within the UK constitution are not set up to reflect this new reality with parliamentary and select committee scrutiny based on individual Ministers reporting to Parliament for activities within their departments

The Committee also considers the role of the Minister for the Cabinet Office, and state that the responsibilities of the post are currently poorly defined. They recommend that the Government reassess the functions of the Minister for the Cabinet Office to ensure that the postholder's responsibilities accurately reflect the strategic role the Cabinet Office plays in delivering government policy.

The report goes on to consider the approach taken to changes to the machinery of government and the change in the role and function of the Lord Chancellor which took place during Tony Blair's time as Prime Minister. The Committee states that the process of change involved 'wholly inadequate' consultation both within government and with the senior judiciary, and further states that there was 'no justification for failure to consult on these important reforms'.

The Committee recommends that in future the Cabinet Office should play a formal role in investigating any machinery of government changes, particularly those with constitutional implications.

Extent 150 pages ISBN 9780108459320
Size A4 Price £23.00
Format Paperback Published 29 Jan 2010
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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