HL Deb 27 July 1998 vol 592 cc168-9WA
Lord Slynn of Hadley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When it will respond to the report from the House of Lords Select Committee on the Public Service. [HL3044]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The Government's Response to the Report from the House of Lords Select Committee on the Public Service (Cm 4000) has been published today. The Select Committee's report represents a thorough and wide-ranging examination of the changes that have taken place within the Civil Service over the last 30 years, and the impact of those changes on standards of conduct and the public service ethos, and provides a very helpful contribution to our own thinking. The Government are grateful for the work of the committee in this important area.

The response reaffirms this Government's commitment to maintaining the key principles—impartiality, integrity, honesty and objectivity—underlying the tradition of a permanent, politically impartial Civil Service. The Government believe that the strong sense of public service ethos felt by civil servants and other public servants is of great value and should not lightly be cast aside. We regard the retention of the public service ethos as the fundamental strength of the Civil Service. We plan to build on this strength by creating more flexible and efficient structures in which staff can work to the best of their ability providing a high quality service to their customers.

The Civil Service plays a vital part in our constitution. Civil Servants' advice to Ministers on the development of the Government's policy programme, their role in implementing those policies and in delivering public services are essential elements in the governance of our country.