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The Role and Status of the Prime Minister’s Office inquiry launched

9 October 2020

The status of the Prime Minister’s Office (Number 10) is not fully defined. The website description states “the office helps the Prime Minister to establish and deliver the government’s overall strategy and policy priorities, and to communicate the government’s policies to Parliament, the public and international audiences.” Nominally, it is a part of the Cabinet Office, yet it is largely operationally distinct. Its functional relationship with the Cabinet Office is unclear.

The inquiry will investigate whether the formal status of Prime Minister’s Office as part of the Cabinet Office is reflected in the reality of its operational role.

It will also examine whether current mechanisms for undertaking scrutiny of the work of the Cabinet Office are sufficient for holding to account the work of Number 10 given its seemingly increasing independence, and whether it meets the threshold for being classified as a separate Government department.

Call for evidence

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee wants to hear your views. It welcomes submissions from anyone that address the terms of reference. The deadline for written submissions is 6.00pm by Wednesday November 4. More information about how to submit evidence is available on the inquiry page.

The Committee invites evidence on the following issues:

  1. To what extent does the formal status of Number 10 as part of the Cabinet Office reflect its operational role?
  2. What is Number 10’s relationship with the Cabinet Office? How has this changed over time and what is the most effective relationship?
  3. Are the mechanisms for scrutinising and holding Number 10 to account adequate and, if not, how can they be improved?
  4. Does Number 10 meet the threshold for being a Government department?

The committee holds its first evidence session on this inquiry on Tuesday 13 October 2020


At 9.30am

  • Dr Catherine Haddon
    Senior Fellow, Institute for Government
  • Alex Thomas
    Programme Director, Institute for Government
  • Dr Patrick Diamond
    Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London

Further information

Image: © Crown Copyright 2013