THE coronavirus crisis and its exposure of weaknesses within government have underlined the need for reform, a senior minister has said.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said a series of problems "rose to the surface" during the pandemic and while some are being addressed, "deeper factors that impeded effective delivery" must also be faced up to.

Speaking at an event in London today, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster announced the publication of Declaration on Government Reform.

He listed "real weaknesses" in government that had been laid bare, including problems over PPE procurement and test availability, the clarity of data required for decision making, the structure of Public Health England, and the Cabinet Office's "own coordinating function".

Gove said: "All these, and a number of other areas, all rose to the surface during the crisis. Now these weaknesses, these problems, these failures have been recognised, they're being addressed.

"But the deeper factors that impeded effective delivery must also be faced and reformed. The forthcoming public inquiry into Covid-19, will help us to do just that."

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The UK Government has described the programme for reform as aiming to ensure the promise to "level up" across the UK can be delivered.

It said there will be a "rebalance" of government away from Whitehall, opening up the civil service to new skills, talent and ideas, and an openness to digital technology and more data-based decision-making.

Gove said: "It is precisely because the Covid crisis revealed weaknesses in our government and society, because it also showcased strengths, because it forced government to adapt and to improve delivery, because the public demand that we build back better and because we have knowledge now that we did not previously possess, that this government is now determined to deepen and to accelerate our programme for reform."

He said the "most useful response to any government initiative is not 'yes minister', but 'why, minister?'."

Gove said the past year had shown how it is "critical" to "crack on" with the Prime Minister's "powerful vision of a country where opportunities are as universal as the talent and ambition of the British people, and where communities across these islands share in the UK's success".

The declaration includes plans to relocate 22,000 civil service roles outside of the London by 2030, including 50% of senior roles.

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All senior roles will also be advertised externally, in an attempt to make Whitehall more open to outside talent.

Boris Johnson said: "As we look ahead to the opportunities ahead of us to build back a better and fairer Britain, we owe it to the people of this country to make sure their Government is best equipped to deliver on their priorities.

"That's why we are launching our blueprint for reform — to keep building on our expertise, modernise how government is run and transform this country for the better."

Cabinet Secretary and head of the civil service Simon Case commented: "As we look forward now to renewal and recovery, this reform programme created by ministers and officials ensures that we will grip the challenges and opportunities together, as one government team."