In June 2013 the government published an independent report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR): ‘Accountability and Responsiveness in the Senior Civil Service’. It explored the support for ministers from their departments and found that UK ministers are significantly under-supported in comparison with other countries, including countries with Westminster-derived government systems. The report concluded that, with the pace and complexity of government ever increasing, ministers need more direct support.
In response, and as outlined in ‘Civil Service Reform Plan: One Year On’, the government announced plans to allow ministers to have extended ministerial offices (EMOs). EMOs will support the effective delivery of ministerial priorities and will provide a number of functions, including policy formulation, implementation, media handling and responding to correspondence, as well as the traditional ministerial office function. Members of the office may be personally appointed by the minister, and be directly accountable to them.