Research & Publications

Cracking the Code: A survey of the relationships between departments and public bodies

July 27 2017

Cracking the Code: A survey of the relationships between departments and public bodies

The Code of Good Practice for partnerships between government departments and public bodies was published by the Cabinet Office in February 2017. The Code was developed by a working group of departmental and ALB represenatives, as a response to the findings of a National Audit Office review of and subsequent Public Accounts Committee hearing into the oversight of public bodies, which highlighted a lack of consistency across government departments.

To encourage better relationships and in support of the Code, the Public Chairs’ Forum (PCF), the Association of Chief Executives (ACE) and the Institute for Government sent a survey to chairs and chief executives of public bodies, to assess their current relationships with their departments. The survey questions were based around the four principles of the Code: purpose, assurance, value and engagement. This report highlights the key findings of the survey.

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Lessons learnt from the set-up phase of the ‘Regulatory Futures’ cross-functional review

August 30 2016

Lessons learnt from the set-up phase of the ‘Regulatory Futures’ cross-functional review

As a result of conversations with John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service in July 2015, the Public Chairs’ Forum (PCF) saw the opportunity to explore better ways of working collaboratively across departments and ALBs to ensure that ALBs are working most effectively. Working in partnership with the Public Bodies Reform Team in Cabinet Office and the Association of Chief Executives (ACE) the idea of cross-functional reviews emerged. This review process would mark a significant departure from triennial reviews of the last parliament being led by the Chairs and Chief Executives of the ALBs themselves, reviewing bodies in ‘clusters’ of similar functions and occurring once a parliament. Both Chris Banks CBE (chair of PCF) and John Alty (Chair of ACE) sat on the steering group for this review. 

This report by PCF and ACE focuses on the lessons learnt during the set-up and commissioning of the crossfunctional ‘Regulatory Futures’ review. Given the variety of sectors and bodies, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to setting up cross-functional reviews but by creating a framework of best practice, we hope that we can provide a useful reference point for future project working groups to set up these reviews in the most time efficient and effective way from the outset.

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Independent Living Fund Transformation Case Study

March 03 2016

Independent Living Fund Transformation Case Study

This report looks into the lessons learnt from the successful closure of the Independent Living Fund.

The ILF was closed on 30th June 2015 and its responsibilities devolved to local authorities and trusts. 

It was a very successful closure programme which actually led to increased efficiency and productivity of staff and services.

The closure programme was about an effective transfer of services rather than eradication, and ensuring that all stakeholders were provided with all the relevant information.

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Relationship Web

relationshipweb application

Relationship Web is a diagnostic self-assessment tool, for both ALBs and Departments to use to test the state of the relationship. It is based on the diagnostic questions within the joint PCF and Institute for Government framework for effective relations and allows Departments and ALBs to identify strengths and weaknesses in their own relationships. The diagnostic statements are divided into five key areas for effectiveness, as identified in ‘It takes two’: accountabilities; strategic approach; financial and performance management; communication and engagement; and relationship management.

After completing the exercise, your results are then plotted on to a 'spider’s web' – the further away from the centre your responses, the more effective your relationship; the idea being to stretch the web over time to improve your performance. You will then be able to download a PDF version of the 'spider’s web' and save this on your computer. There will be an opportunity for individual ALBs and Departments to compare results to see how each party views their relationship. Rather than being the solution to any issues in the relationship, we hope that this exercise will act as a useful conversation starter between Department and ALB.