Oliver Letwin MP

2 Mar 2013 12:45:14

We're governed less by professional politicians than we think

By Paul Goodman
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The combination of Eastleigh and Italy have between them unleashed a tidal wave of commentary about the drawbacks of being governed by the professional politics.  Consider Charles Moore's column in today's Daily Telegraph:

"Eastleigh brings out something which more and more voters feel. A quarter of a century ago, when people used to complain in pubs that “they’re all the same”, I used to argue back: it seemed to me patently false. Today, I stay quiet. Nigel Farage says that we have three social democrat parties now. There is a bit of truth in that, but I would put it differently. It is not so much that they all think the same thing. It is more that they are all the same sort of people. They all belong to a political elite whose attitudes and careers are pretty different from those of the rest of us."

Even the briefest inspection of David Cameron and Ed Miliband supports this view.  Miliband has been a full-time political apparatchick since University.  Cameron briefly had a job in television, but not a career: the post was acknowledged to be a waiting room for the Commons, even by his employers.

Continue reading "We're governed less by professional politicians than we think" »

5 Sep 2012 20:21:19

Full post-reshuffle list of Ministers

By Matthew Barrett
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Following on from the last few days' rolling blogs, I have below a final list of the MPs (and Baroness Warsi) appointed as Ministers for each department. I have put new appointments in bold.

Cabinet Office

  • Minister for the Cabinet Office, Paymaster General – Rt Hon Francis Maude MP
  • Minister for Government Policy – Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon David Laws MP (jointly with the Department for Education)
  • Parliamentary Secretary – Nick Hurd MP
  • Parliamentary Secretary – Chloe Smith MP

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

  • Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills; and President of the Board of Trade – Rt Hon Dr Vincent Cable MP
  • Minister of State (Universities and Science) – Rt Hon David Willetts MP
  • Minister of State – Michael Fallon MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Jo Swinson MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Matthew Hancock MP (jointly
  • with the Department for Education)

Department for Communities and Local Government

  • Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
  • Senior Minister of State (Faith and Communities) – Rt Hon Baroness Warsi (jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
  • Minister of State (Housing) – Mark Prisk MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Planning) - Nicholas Boles MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Rt Hon Don Foster MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Brandon Lewis MP

Continue reading "Full post-reshuffle list of Ministers" »

11 Jul 2011 17:48:58

Oliver Letwin sets out five principles for public service reform

By Tim Montgomerie
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Earlier in the House of Commons Oliver Letwin MP outlined the Coalition's new White Paper on the future of the public services. He began by saying that his aim was to give poorer people the same choice as richer people:

"When public services aren’t up to scratch, those who are well off can pay for substitutes. But for those who are not well off, there is no opportunity to pay for substitutes. So we need to give everybody the same choice in, and the same power over, the services they receive that well off people already have."

He then set out the five principles that underpin the White Paper and of the Coalition's vision for the public services:

  1. Choice – wherever possible we will increase choice;
  2. Decentralisation – power will be decentralised to the lowest appropriate level;
  3. Diversity – public services will be open to a range of providers;
  4. Fair access – we will ensure that there is fair access and fair funding for all; and
  5. Accountability – services will be accountable to users and taxpayers.

The Cabinet Office Minister said that transparency of government data was essential to enabling change. Perestroika needed glasnost, he said later in an answer to a question from Stephen Dorrell:

  • crime maps, so people can see whether the local police are preventing crime in their street;
  • health outcomes, so people can see which hospitals and which GPs achieve the best results;
  • standardised satisfaction data for all public services – so people can see exactly which service providers are providing the quality of service people want; and
  • open, real-time data on road conditions, speeds and accidents along our motorways, so people can make informed choices.

Download a PDF of Mr Letwin's full statement.

9 Nov 2010 08:27:22

Oliver Letwin explains how every Whitehall department will now give monthly updates on progress towards the Coalition's goals

Making a rare statement to the Commons yesterday, Oliver Letwin explained the Government's Business Plans for every Whitehall department and why they were being published transparently. Highlights below:

Letwin Cabinet Office Targets do not work: "The evidence of the past 13 years shows that targets and short-term bureaucratic interventions simply do not work. Despite all the new learning strategies in schools, the gap in educational achievement between the richest and the poorest widened; despite all the NHS targets, cancer survival rates in Britain were among the lowest in Europe; despite all the police form-filling and bureaucracy, there were more than 10,000 incidents of antisocial behaviour every day."

A "horizon shift" to the long-term: "The previous Government caught themselves repeatedly on the hook of trying to achieve a result on Wednesday that they could show the public by Thursday. Often, the upshot was to achieve nothing whatsoever. We are saying that we will try to achieve things in the long term without trying to achieve publicity goals on the way, which is an important change."

Every Whitehall Department has today published a transparent plan of action and priorities: "Today, taking into account the results of the spending review, we are publishing the final departmental plans, setting out the vision, priorities and structural reforms of each Department. These plans are a key part of our transparency agenda. They do not set out hopes for what we might achieve by micro-managing all the public services. They set out what we need to do, to manage the Government properly."

Departments will produce monthly updates on progress: "The publication of the plans will bring about a fundamental change in how Departments are held to account for implementing policy commitments, replacing the old top-down systems of targets and central micro-management with democratic accountability. Every month, Departments will publish a simple report on their progress towards meeting their commitments."

The difference between Labour's targets and the Coalition's "Milestones": "A target is an effort by a Government, of which there were many under the previous Government, to determine what the whole of the public service would achieve through micro-management. Such targets were often not met. What we are talking about are actions that lie under the direct control of Government and which it is absolutely right that we should manage ourselves."

If Departments miss milestones: "In the first place, a report will be made, which will be available to everybody-no Minister likes to see such a thing appear in public. Secondly, the Minister involved will find himself having a discussion with my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary and me to explain what has occurred... The second thing that will happen is that the Minister will meet the Chief Secretary and me, and the permanent secretary will have a conversation with the head of the civil service. Finally, if the problem is still not resolved, the Secretary of State in question will have a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. This is a serious set of incentives; if one thinks about what it was like under the previous Government, or any previous Government, one realises that Ministers do not wish to go through that process and will therefore try to meet their objectives."

More in Hansard.

> Watch David Cameron launch the Business Plans.