The central Departments have already delegated a wide range of authorities to spending Departments, while maintaining where necessary common standards and rules across the Civil Service, and Departments in turn delegate a good deal to line managers. More delegation is needed and this is one of the aims of the changes in management under way in the Civil Service.
Has not the record of delegation of authority within Deparments, rather than within the centre, been somewhat disappointing despite the fact that the financial management initiative drew attention to the need for delegation? Has my hon. Friend noted that the new report from the efficiency unit draws attention to that? Will he assure the House that he will lead a drive to ensure that Departments follow the recommendations of the efficiency unit?
My hon. Friend, as so often on such matters, is right in what he says. We want to see more delegation. Delegation and accountability go together. We want to see that being extended. The financial management initiative has that as one of its main objectives. I shall do all that I can to facilitate progress on that initiative.