Headlines: February 2nd, 2000

The Treasury has launched cross cutting reviews to support a culture change towards partnership working. The recent report from the Performance and Innovation Unit ‘Wiring It Up – Accountability and Incentives for Joined Up Government’, see Publicnet 18 January 2000, was extremely critical of the Whitehall culture which has made little progress towards joint working. The reviews, which will be completed by the summer, are part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. Similar reviews last year resulted in new approaches including the national Drugs Strategy and the Sure Start Programme, but there were too few of them to effect any cultural change.Each review will focus on an issue which may involve a number of departments and service providers in local government and the private and voluntary sectors. Review teams have a lead Minister and draw on expertise from outside Whitehall. They must consult with service users.

This year the cross cutting review programme has been enlarged. In addition to welfare and crime the issues of Young People at Risk and Old People will be addressed as also will Government Intervention in Deprived Areas and Rural and Countryside Programmes.

Departmental budgets are barriers to working across boundaries and the reviews will seek to develop cross cutting policies and programmes for their delivery. It is believed that this is one of the most effective ways to build a partnership culture.