The framework replaces Public Service Agreements and means there will no longer be central government targets but that external performance reporting will now be much more centred on what the public are interested in.
The Business Plan contains five sections (standard for all departments): Vision, Coalition Priorities, Structural Reform Plan, Departmental Expenditure, and Transparency.
The MOD’s Business Plan sets out our priorities until 2015 and draws upon the outcome of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). The priorities as outlined in the Business Plan are:
- to succeed in Afghanistan;
- to continue to fulfil our standing commitments;
- to succeed in other operations we are required to undertake;
- to promote defence exports consistent with export control criteria;
- to implement the Strategic Defence and Security Review;
- to deliver the Defence Reform Unit’s review; and
- to deliver Defence in the most effective, efficient and sustainable way.
The MOD’s Structural Reform Plan covers key activities that were outlined in the SDSR White Paper. These include restructuring the Armed Forces and their capabilities, rebuilding the Armed Forces Covenant and developing the New Employment Model, delivering Defence Reform, and ensuring that all our other tasks are carried out in an effective, efficient and sustainable way.
The Department will report progress on a monthly basis against the Structural Reform Plan.
The Transparency section reflects the MOD’s commitment to the Government’s Transparency agenda with work in hand to embed the principles of transparency across the Department.
The Secretary of State for Defence and the Permanent Secretary will be held to account every quarter by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for the Cabinet Office for delivery against the plan, and Director General Finance will be subject to a review meeting by the Cabinet Office and Treasury every month.
Announcing the publication of departmental business plans today, Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin said:
Taken together, these plans will change the nature of government. They represent a power shift, taking power away from Whitehall and putting it into the hands of people and communities; and an horizon shift, turning government’s attention towards the long-term decisions that will equip Britain for sustainable social success and sustainable economic growth.
The publication of these plans will bring about a fundamental change in how Departments are held to account for implementing policy commitments, replacing the old top-down systems of targets and central micromanagement with democratic accountability. Every month Departments will publish a simple report on their progress towards meeting their commitments.
In addition, the second part of each Business Plan explains how government will give people unprecedented access to the data they need - in a simple, easily accessible format - to scrutinise how we are using taxpayers’ money and what progress we are making in improving society through our reforms.
These transparency sections of the plans are being published in draft to allow Parliament and the wider public to say whether each Department is publishing the most useful and robust information to help people hold the Department to account.