26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Silence over consultations condemned

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United Kingdom Ministers have yet to respond to 15 Government consultations during the current Parliament, leading to accusations that the exercises are pointless.

Ministries regularly launch consultations on proposals to gather feedback from communities, experts and the public.

They then publish a formal response summarising the findings and setting out any changes to the proposed policy or project before it is presented to Parliament.

An Opposition Labour Party probe has looked back beyond the current Parliamentary term, which began in 2019, and said it had found 25 consultations that Ministers had not responded to, including two from seven years ago.

They cover topics including social investment tax relief; travel and subsistence, pre-paid funeral plans; and encouraging innovation in regulated utilities.

Labour’s Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner accused the Government of making empty promises and opening pointless consultations and “then hoping the public won’t notice when they fail to actually govern”.

Ms Rayner (pictured) said the Government had “checked out” amid the Conservative Party leadership campaign for the next Prime Minister.

She warned the chop-and-change that had seen three Prime Ministers in six years, with a fourth to come next month, was creating a “Zombie Government”.

Meanwhile, one of the candidates in the leadership campaign, Rishi Sunak has committed to cutting Public Service jobs as part of a shake-up that would also require senior Public Servants to spend a year working outside of Whitehall if they wanted promotion.

Mr Sunak said his plans included cutting the “back office” head-count, changing pay rewards from being based on longevity to performance, bringing back a version of the suspended fast-stream graduate recruitment program, and championing the use of apprenticeships.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer said the “bloated post-COVID State is in need of a shake-up” and committed to reforms to create a leaner and “truly Rolls Royce service”.

London, 17 August 2022

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