Headlines: July 23rd, 2002

The Better Regulation Task Force, an independent group commissioned by the Cabinet Office has uncovered “a confusing organizational landscape fraught with over-complexity and multiple accountabilities.” In two reports the Task Force describes how they looked at the way central policy is delivered locally in relation to training and skills, higher education and economic development.The role of the Task Force is to advise the Government on regulation and its enforcement to ensure that it is no more onerous than it need be. Its members are drawn from the private and public sectors and they are unpaid. A team of officials from the Cabinet Office supports them.

The conclusion from the reports is that joined-up working is not working. Local organizations complained of being over inspected and the Task Force found evidence of duplicated audits and inspections. The policies of central departments converge at the point of local delivery and it was found that there was a continuing stream of uncoordinated initiatives resulting in a range of multiple accountabilities and demands for different data. The other major weakness is the excessive number of funding streams. “The system is so complex that even those involved were unsure how it all fitted together.”

The Task Force recommends that the current over-management from the center should be scaled down and that the Government should pursue a strategy of earned autonomy.

Link: http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/regualtion/index.htm