Public service reform unit axed

What now of the reform agenda?

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A key Cabinet Office unit with responsibility for public sector reform is being quietly broken up.

The government has disbanded the Office of Public Service Reform (OPSR) without making any formal announcement, Government Computing News can exclusively reveal.

While no official statement has been made so far, a message posted on the OPSR website said other central government units would take on elements of its work.

The OPSR has worked closely with the e-Government Unit. One of the main strands of its work has been on the delivery of more customer focused public services.

"The work of the Office of Public Services Reform is now being taken forward as part of the wider programme of work of the Cabinet Office. Responsibilities for public services reform work have been taken on by the Economic and Domestic Secretariat, Government Communication Group and the Strategy Unit.

"This website will not be updated and will be maintained for archive purposes."

Yesterday, the Cabinet Office was aiming to put an official response together, but the government is already facing criticism over the move.

Conservative spokesperson for the Cabinet Office Oliver Heald is concerned about the impact the move will have on the wider reform agenda.

"We're shocked that nothing has been said about this publicly," he told Government Computing News. "I'm going to be tabling a parliamentary question about this today to find out what has happened with the OPSR.

"There's been absolutely nothing on the record said about this, and the whole thing gives quite a worrying signal about the government's reform agenda.

"It perhaps shows that the OPSR wasn't quite as effective as the government originally intended. We were under the impression that given the reform agenda, this body would play a vital role and we are now concerned."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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