The government has been too slow to allocate skills and resources for Brexit according to an assessment by the public accounts committee (PAC), which also calls for greater transparency over the costs of delivery
The committee’s report on work related to exiting the EU says that departments already have a lot to deliver besides Brexit and need to prioritise, including stopping some projects to make room for essential Brexit work–which is at least 313 areas of work.
It described handling 300-plus workstreams as ‘a byzantinely complicated task with the potential to become a damaging and unmanageable muddle’.
In addition, PAC says allocation of the right people, skills and resources has been too slow, while the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) and the Cabinet Office do not have a robust enough plan to identify and recruit the people and skills needed quickly.
PAC says DExEU must pick up the pace of this work and move other departments on to getting things done.
The report stated: ‘Given these challenges we expect much greater transparency from DExEU, HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office on formally setting out who is responsible for what and on the progress that is being made. We also need to know what the costs are of delivering Brexit and expect government to be open about this.’
In its recommendations, PAC calls for details of all Brexit-related workstreams to be published by April, with a timeline of actions. It also wants Parliament and the public ‘to be kept meaningfully informed on what progress is being made, and at what cost.’
Exiting the European Union is here.
Report by Pat Sweet