One of the first moves of Prime Minister Tony Blair in responding to the election result as ‘an instruction to deliver’ is the creation of an Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in the Cabinet Office. John Prescott will act with the full authority of the Prime Minister in overseeing the delivery of the manifesto pledges. He will be supported by a new unit, staffed by civil servants and successful change managers from business and commerce, with a remit to drive forward reform of public services. There is speculation that the unit will be headed by Lord Birt, former chairman of the BBC. To ensure that the unit has sufficient ‘clout’ to make things happen its head will report directly to the Prime Minister.John Prescott will also take on responsibility for important cross-departmental issues, including social exclusion. The Regional Co-ordination Unit, set up last year in the DETR, will move the Deputy Prime Ministers Office, which will also take on responsibility for the Government Offices in the Regions and the Social Exclusion Unit.
As the Civil Service prepares for a new era with a focus on delivering policies, the Civil Service College has appointed Eleanor Goodison as Government Group Director for the development and delivery of training programmes. She joined the Civil Service in 1978 and has spent most of this time in management posts and she contributed to the current Reform programme as Head of the Personnel Management and Pay Division in the Cabinet Office. She has just returned from a secondment to the Dutch Ministry of the Interior where she led an e-learning project. Her task will be to ensure that the new reform agenda, which will shortly start to emerge from the Cabinet Office, is carried through to the training provided by the College.