Britain’s best drafted in to run Whitehall

THE Cabinet Office yesterday published a list of top business leaders who have been appointed as non-executive directors to sit on Whitehall boards.

The appointments are designed to ensure the government operates in a more business like manner and are the brainchild of Cabinet office minister Francis Maude and Lord Browne, the recent author of the report on higher eduction funding and former chief executive of BP.

Among the list of appointments are Sara Weller, chief executive of Argos, Jim Leng former chairman of Rio Tinto and deputy chairman of Tata Steel, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline Andrew Witty and Babara Stocking chief executive of Oxfam.

Of the 31 board members announced yesterday, 13, or 42 per cent, are women. The remaining list of board members will be published in the New Year which is also when the first board meetings are expected to take place. The Cabinet Office said the non-executive board members will help steer responsibility for strategic and operational leadership for each government department and for agreeing each department’s three-year rolling business plan.

They will also provide advice and support to ministers and civil servants, challenge discussions and discuss any performance issues with Lord Browne and the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Office added.

Maude, said: “Today’s names include business heavyweights with huge experience of financial management and improving operational performance and they will play a key role in helping departments rise to the challenge and deliver further savings. Previously, we have paid millions of pounds to consultants for this kind of advice.”

He added new efficiency measures put in place by the government had already saved over £1bn.