FDA questions why NAO accountability report only recommends changing incentives for civil servants

The Guardian has reported FDA General Secretary Dave Penman's response to a National Audit Office (NAO) report, looking into the accountability to Parliament of taxpayers' money.

The report states that Permanent Secretaries, or Accounting Officers (AOs), now operate in an environment where Ministers often perform a more 'executive' role in policy implementing policy and seek greater involvement in top civil service appointments, while appointing increasingly influential Special Advisers to act on their behalf.

The NAO recommends that the "Cabinet Office should identify and put in place specific measures to change incentives for Permanent Secretaries to emphasise their AO responsibilities, alongside their duty to Ministers".

Penman questioned why these recommendations had only been suggested for civil servants:

"As the report highlights, Ministers and their Special Advisers' increasing influence over the implementation of policy is judged to be one of the major factors that needs to be addressed.

"The report calls for specific measures to change incentives for Permanent Secretaries to be put in place, yet no similar approach has been suggested for Ministers or their Special Advisers."

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