Cabinet Office and Treasury in firing line for being a soft touch

Michael Bow
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THE CABINET Office and Treasury are too weak willed to exert control over government department spending, an influential parliamentary committee says today.

Both offices, which hold the purse strings for government spending, have been criticised by the committee of public accounts for being “half-hearted” and failing to drive a decent bargain for taxpayers.

“Tougher leadership from the centre of government is required,” Margaret Hodge, who chairs the panel, said. “So for instance capital projects should be stopped if the centre judges them to be poorly conceived and managed.”

The criticisms come as the committee publishes four reports today on a raft of issues, including how to improve government procurement and reform the civil service.

The committee recommends that the centre of government should be more “forceful” and said it was odd how there were no sanctions against departments which did not comply.

“The Cabinet Office and Treasury also need to have much better information to support the case for breaking down the ‘silo’ culture of individual departments,” Hodge added.