Finance skills should be central to the civil service reforms now being developed by head of the civil service Sir Bob Kerslake, the head of the government finance profession has said. Speaking in a CSW interview, Department of Health finance chief Richard Douglas said: "I'm hoping and expecting that Bob Kerslake will take [finance skills] forward as a key plank of civil service reform."
Douglas is leading the 'Finance Transformation Programme': an initiative to improve finance skills across government. The scheme will make permanent secretaries responsible for ensuring that their senior civil servants have a general level of financial competency.
At present, senior civil servants lack sufficient skills to assess spending and cut waste, he said: "We haven't fundamentally changed financial management in government: We haven't changed the way that government and civil servants think about its use."
He added: "We're all trying to focus on driving out waste, driving out low-priority spending. The only way you can do that is by understanding the relationship between the money you spend and the outcomes you get for that."
See the full interview