Government Departments: Public Expenditure

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 14th November 2022.

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Photo of John Penrose John Penrose Conservative, Weston-Super-Mare

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of spending on Government programmes will be covered by the work of the Evaluation Task Force this year; and what plans he has to increase this figure to assess the effectiveness of all or most of those programmes in future.

Photo of Jeremy Quin Jeremy Quin The Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office

The Evaluation Task Force (ETF) was set up to improve the way government programmes are evaluated to improve our assessment of whether programmes should be continued, expanded, modified or stopped. The ETF provides all government Departments with reactive evaluation advice and support on request, as well as a proactive scrutiny and challenge function, which is responsive to requests from Treasury and Cabinet Office ministerial priorities. Departments, however, are responsible for evaluating their own programmes.

HM Government spends about £1 trillion each year, including £400 billion on public services. Since the establishment of the ETF 18 months ago, the team has advised on how to best evaluate 169 programmes worth £81.7bn. This includes the ETF’s recently published top 10 priority areas where they will provide more significant evaluation support and challenge to ensure that evaluation is used to understand the effectiveness of the most important policies and programmes across government. In addition, through the £15m Evaluation Accelerator Fund, the ETF has awarded 16 programmes funding to support actionable evaluations in priority areas.

The ETF advises on programmes covering single-year and multi-year expenditure and therefore cannot accurately determine the proportion of spending on government programmes that will be covered by the ETF this year.

The ETF will be updating the government major projects conducted by the Prime Minister’s Implementation Unit in 2019. The findings will be used to identify projects where the ETF can make a significant difference by providing evaluation support. The ambition is, by 2025, all new major programmes in government will have a robust evaluation in place, delivering value for money for the public, and ensuring the impact of taxpayer money is maximised.

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