CSW has analysed the 12 Capability Action Plans published following departmental capability reviews, which ended in March. The reviews are designed to assess how well equipped departments are to meet their delivery challenges.
Every department has conducted its own review, and these have been signed off by permanent secretaries. The plans grade departments using four categories: green, amber-green, amber-red, and red.
Using a simple calculation based on departments’ performance in each category (see right), CSW has produced a set of results topped by DfID – whose scores included the the most greens and amber-greens, and the fewest reds and amber-reds. DH had the most amber-reds and the fewest greens and amber-greens.
DfID’s strong showing may owe something to the fact that it was the only Whitehall department to see an increase in its budget. Meanwhile, the DH review states that its capability scores “reflect the scale of the challenge ahead.”
The most commonly identified strength across departments was that they had a “set strategy and focus on outcomes.” The criteria for this includes having a “clear, coherent and achievable strategy,” showing how outcomes will affect citizens, ensuring that plans are updated, and working with political leaders to ensure appropriate trade-offs.
The most common identified weakness was “develop clear roles, responsibilities and delivery models,” in particular working with arm’s-length bodies and delivery agents.