The capacity to deliver on promises will be essential for whoever forms the next government. Whitehall must improve how it does things across departments to provide this support. This paper sets out what needs to happen and the leadership and responsibilities which need to be in place.

The paper argues that there are three distinct groups with responsibilities that must be made clear:

  • Cross-departmental leaders – who lead ‘professional functions’ and have to ensure what they do adds value to government.
  • Civil service leaders – who must overcome the divided nature of Whitehall and connect policymaking to the other functions.
  • Ministers – who must provide the political drive for continued.

Without clear political leadership from the outset, the next government runs the risk of having to revisit how Whitehall works across departments after losing the momentum and progress that has built up over the last five years.