Johnson to set up new No 10 delivery unit to drive policy agenda

Gavin Cordon, PA Whitehall Editor
·1-min read

Boris Johnson is reviving one of Tony Blair’s New Labour initiatives with a new No 10 Delivery Unit to drive his policy agenda as Britain emerges from the pandemic.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the move followed a review by Sir Michael Barber who set up the original Downing Street delivery unit under Mr Blair.

The unit will be headed by Dr Emily Lawson, who led the operational delivery of the NHS coronavirus vaccination programme.

She will take the post on secondment from the NHS in the summer, by which time most adults in the UK should have had a jab.

Tony Blair
Tony Blair (Ian Nicholson/PA)

Dr Lawson will lead a “small” team made up of existing civil servants and people with “key skills” such as auditors and data scientists.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said it will have “greater authority” than the existing Downing Street Implementation Unit.

“It is about making sure that the Prime Minister’s priorities are being delivered,” the spokesman said.

“It will ensure that we have the strongest possible approach to the successful delivery of the Government’s agenda.

“He (Mr Johnson) thinks it’s a good way to have a small, focused team working on these priorities.

“Individual departments will work up policy in the usual way but this will be about achieving delivery on time.”

The move follows reports that the Prime Minister was frustrated at the inability of the Government machine to respond effectively in the early days of the pandemic.

His spokesman denied that it reflected his dissatisfaction with the performance of the Civil Service.