Manzoni sets out ‘areas for improvement’ in public sector

New chief executive of the civil service John Manzoni named “clarity, accountability and delegation” as “opportunities for improvement” in public sector management.

By Winnie Agbonlahor

21 Nov 2014

Manzoni (pictured), who has been in government less than a year after a private sector career spanning 30 years, told the House of Commons Governance Select Committee on Tuesday, 18 November, that he can bring a different “lens” to government, a “fresh perspective on issues associated with implementation”, and knowledge of “how to make things happen with people and organisations”.

Asked by committee member Jacob Rees-Mogg MP what skills a good chief executive in the public sector needs, Manzoni replied “leadership” and an understanding “how to get things done in large, complex organisations.”

He added: “I think much of the same things that make things happen in the private sector— frankly, if I’m honest, we could build that muscle in the public sector a bit more than we have today, which I assume is why I’m here.

“It is about clarity, accountability and delegation, and I would say that in those three areas there are opportunities for improvement.”

Committee member Valerie Vaz later noted: “It is interesting what you said, Mr Manzoni, about getting things done.

“I think a lot of civil servants out there will be very upset by what you say. It is almost implying that nothing got done until you came.”

But Manzoni countered: “I think those are your words, not mine. People are working extraordinarily hard; it is amazing how much does get done. Things could be done even better.”

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