UK Politics

Treasury chief's appraisal target: Help keep UK together

Whitehall road sign

The government has published the goals and objectives of Whitehall's most senior civil service officials in their annual staff appraisals.

Some targets for 2014 appear more challenging than others.

Sir Nicholas Macpherson's include supporting ministers in their objective of "keeping Scotland within the UK, informing the debate with clear, rigorous and accurate analysis".

The Permanent Secretary to the Treasury is George Osborne's top official.

Other Whitehall chiefs, whose job it is the run the big departments of state and translate ministerial orders into action, are given what appear to be more modest targets - but with all the acronyms and snappily-titled initiatives it is hard to tell.

'Raise an extra £24.4bn'

Sir Bob Kerslake, the most powerful civil servant in the land, is told to focus on the civil service reform plan - the job cuts and efficiency savings being driven through all government departments by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude.

Image copyright BBC News
Image caption Sir Nicholas Macpherson contemplates his task for the year

How will the head of the civil service know when he has achieved this goal?

"Delivery of the 7 Game Changers implementation plans to timetable, and in particular the MCO priorities of Functional Leadership and Civil Service 21".

And who will judge him in this task?

He will receive "360 degree feedback" from the prime minister and Mr Maude, apparently.

There are also financial targets - not unusual in workplace appraisals - although the sums involved would make most of Britain's middle managers' hearts skip a beat.

Lin Homer, boss of HM Revenue and Customs, is told she must "deliver total additional revenues of £24.4bn in 2014/15".

This will be achieved, in part, her appraisal states, by cutting fraud and error in tax credits from 8.9% to 5.5%, although even this ambitious target will raise the relatively puny sum of £500m.

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