Top civil servants unaccountable

Top Whitehall civil servants have admitted they are not held accountable for poor performance, according to a report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The report, entitled "Whitehall's Black Box: Accountability and Performance in the Senior Civil Service", also reveals the frustration of ministers over existing arrangements which give them little scope to hold failing civil servants to account.

The report also drew on a survey of senior civil servants on the issue of performance obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The findings showed that only 6% of those working in the Home Office believed that poor performance was dealt with effectively, with only the Department of Transport faring worse in the eyes of its own staff. One minister complained that the use of expensive outside consultants was because of the lack of necessary expertise within the department, as the report revealed Whitehall's "limited skills set".

Top civil servants are 'unaccountable' (The Guardian, 7 August 2006)