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Letter from Gus O'Donnell about reducing regulations

Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Gus O'Donnell has written to all government Permanent Secretaries about cutting red tape.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Gus O’Donnell has written a letter to all Permanent Secretaries across government about the Red Tape Challenge.

Read the letter

Reducing the number and burden of the 21,000 existing statutory rules and regulations in our national life is central to the Coalition Government’s vision for Britain - to promote growth and enterprise, enhance freedom and responsibility, and deliver greater fairness.

The Prime Minister has set out a clear ambition: that this government leaves office having reduced the overall burden of regulation. He has made clear that his message to his ministerial colleagues is not a polite request to ‘reduce regulation if you can’, but instead take personal responsibility for the number of regulations contained coming out of departments, and the burdens they impose.

To help deliver the government’s ambitions in this area the Prime Minister and Business Secretary have today launched ‘Red Tape Challenge’, further details of which can be found at

As we discussed yesterday, Red Tape Challenge presents the civil service with a great opportunity to help drive changes in the way that government delivers its policy goals, abolishing unnecessary regulations and using creative new approaches to achieve the government’s objectives in non regulatory ways.

I am making this work a high personal priority, and will be meeting with you regularly to ensure real progress is being made.

Similarly I would expect this work to be a high personal priority for you, and request that you ensure your departments are focused on making the most of this opportunity. It is essential that all government departments use Red Tape Challenge to deepen their engagement with businesses, the public and all other stakeholders on regulatory issues, and ensure that creative and credible options for reducing regulation are put to ministers.

I will shortly be circulating further details on Red Tape Challenge and how you can best support the work, and I look forward to welcoming rapid progress on this essential agenda in the months ahead.

I am copying this letter to all Permanent Secretaries.

Published 7 April 2011