UK Politics

David Cameron sets up 10 new taskforces to oversee policy delivery

The first meeting of David Cameron's Conservative cabinet after the election Image copyright PA
Image caption The taskforces will be chaired by senior ministers

David Cameron has set up 10 new taskforces to oversee the delivery of policy in key areas, including housing, immigration, extremism and childcare.

Downing Street said the bodies, chaired by ministers, would track progress in policy implementation and "make sure actions are followed through".

The move echoes the setting up of a Delivery Unit in No 10 by Tony Blair in 2001 to monitor delivery of priorities.

This was abolished when the coalition government took office in 2010.

David Cameron has said he has a mandate to deliver the Conservatives' manifesto in full following their election victory and will not "waste a minute" in getting started on a busy legislative programme, with 26 bills included in the government's first Queen's Speech announced last week.

Ministers are keen to exploit the political momentum which new governments traditionally enjoy at the start of a new Parliament, even though the Conservatives only have a working majority of 12 in the House of Commons and do not have a majority in the House of Lords.

'Identify problems'

Taskforces have also been set up to oversee progress in the following areas: troubled families, exports, digital infrastructure, health and social care, "earn or learn" and foreign fighters returning to the UK from Syria and Iraq.

The committees will be chaired by cabinet ministers or junior ministers, reporting to the prime minister and the cabinet "regularly".

Employment minister Priti Patel will chair the taskforce on childcare with other details to be set out in due course.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Tony Blair set up a delivery unit in No 10 in 2001, which was retained by Gordon Brown

Although they will not publish reports, Downing Street said their aim was to "maintain momentum" and to "identify problems" in the delivery of Conservative manifesto commitments.

A No 10 spokesman said the prime minister believed it is was necessary to "identify specific areas where we continue to deliver things" that are government priorities.

He denied the extra mechanism was a "judgement on the civil service", which is responsible for the implementation of policy, instead insisting it was about "an extra way of making sure that delivery happens".

During its nine-year existence under Labour, the No 10 Delivery Unit was headed by civil servants and outside experts and was designed to co-ordinate the implementation of policy across government departments.

David Cameron has also finalised the number of cabinet committees and who will be on them. There will be 14 committees, including the national security committee, while three sub committees have also been established.

Each will report to the cabinet and the prime minister on specific policy areas and decisions made.

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