COMMONS

Government agrees with Committee about benefits of minimising reshuffles

10 April 2014

The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee publishes the Government’s response to its report on the impact and effectiveness of ministerial reshuffles. 

Chair's comments

Graham Allen MP , Chair of the Committee, said:

“Some limited reshuffles will always be necessary but they have become a habit in UK politics, which is bad for Government, bad for the management of the civil service and bad for parliamentary accountability. I am pleased that the Government’s response agreed that there are benefits to having continuity of Ministers in Departments and acknowledged the importance of such continuity for effective Government.


“Our original report commended the Prime Minister for the restraint he has shown in reshuffling Ministers.  I hope that he continues to show this restraint and that his successors follow his example in this regard.”

Key points from the response include:

  • The Government agrees with the Committee that there are benefits to having continuity of Ministers in Departments and recognises the importance of such continuity for effective government, but states that there will be times when Ministerial moves are necessary.
  • The Government agrees with the Committee that continuity of Ministers is particularly important in Departments that conduct a significant proportion of their business in an international arena. 
  • The Committee said that there should be an expectation that Secretaries of State are left in post for the length of the Parliament and more junior Minister for a minimum of two years.    The Government said that it agreed with the principle that Ministerial continuity should be encouraged where possible, but that it did not feel it was appropriate to limit the Prime Minister’s personal authority to appoint Ministers by prescribing a minimum duration for Ministerial appointment.
  • The Committee recommend that there should be a specific Minister in the Cabinet Office responsible for Ministerial development.  The Government did not agree that there was a need for such a Minister, saying that this was a task for the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, relevant Secretaries of State and other Ministerial heads of Departments.  
  • The Government agrees with the Committee that continuity in the senior civil service is also an important factor in departmental stability.

Further information

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