A range of recommendations to strengthen government finances were made in the Financial Management Review (FMR), which was launched in June under the leadership of White (pictured above) and Richard Douglas, head of the government finance profession and director-general of finance at the Department of Health.
The FMR, which was published earlier this week, calls for the two current roles of head of the government finance profession and Treasury director-general of public spending to be combined into one, creating the new post of director general for spending and finance. The new DG will help manage the finance directors-general of 17 main departments, and “grow the talent pool of finance professionals at all levels in the civil service”
Recruitment for the new job is to start in the new year, in an open competition.
The new role will report directly to White and, according to the review, “have ‘dotted-line’ management to 17 main departments’ directors and directors general finance”.
Other recommendations the government has accepted are plans for the Treasury to work with departments in order to improve the consistency and quality of management accounting practices and reporting across government, and to “develop and apply a framework within which departments can take greater responsibility for some areas of expenditure that are currently controlled by the centre”.
The plans have been welcomed by the Institute for Government (IfG). Julian McCrae, the IfG’s deputy director, said recruiting a new director-general for spending and finance is “a vital part of strengthening financial management across government”.
Gillian Russell, Deloitte’s public sector finance partner and head of its public sector finance leaders programme, said the appointment will “provide clear and singular leadership in this critical area and ... ensure that finance provides consistently professional input into decisions across all government departments”.