Ministerial shake-up aims at sharper focus

Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a shake-up of the government
machine in an attempt to bring “a much sharper focus” to the
delivery of public services, though the structure of the Department
of Health remains largely unchanged.

Alan Milburn was re-appointed as health secretary, and John
Hutton stays as health minister, but his ministerial brief for
social care and mental health has been taken over by Jacqui Smith,
promoted from schools minister at the Department for Education and

With John Denham leaving for the Home Office, Hutton will be
health minister responsible for NHS workforce and pay issues. Lord
Hunt remains junior health minister in the Lords and Yvette Cooper
retains her public health role. Salford MP Hazel Blears has joined
the department as parliamentary secretary. She will cover issues
such as critical care, acute services, the ambulance service and
NHS Direct.

The DoH is also in the middle of a departmental review, with
changes expected to the management of the Social Services
Inspectorate and the social care group.

Elsewhere in government, the key changes have been in the old
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, the
Department of Social Security and the DfEE, while the Home Office
has been streamlined.

The new Department for Transport, Local Government and the
Regions, is headed up by Stephen Byers, with former housing
minister Nick Raynsford replacing Hilary Armstrong as local
government minister and Lord Falconer taking over as housing and
planning minister.

The old DfEE is now the Department for Education and Skills
(DfES) while the DSS becomes the Department for Work and Pensions
(DWP). The DfES has Estelle Morris promoted to education secretary,
former Treasury financial secretary and social security minister
Stephen Timms appointed as schools minister and Margaret Hodge as
minister for lifelong learning and higher education.

The DWP will cover the modernisation of work and benefit-related
services, with responsibility for the Employment Service, Benefits
Agency and Child Support Agency. It will also be tasked with
creating two new agencies: Jobcentre Plus and the Pensions Service.
Alistair Darling keeps his role as secretary of state, with Nick
Brown becoming work minister and ex-Cabinet Office minister Ian
McCartney as pensions minister. Baroness Hollis is expected to deal
with disability issues.

The new home secretary, David Blunkett, will concentrate on
criminal justice, asylum and drugs policy, with the Home Office
running the UK anti-drugs co-ordination unit.

Paul Boateng was moved from his post as Home Office minister to
become financial secretary at the Treasury.

Second term appointments

Secretary of state:
Alan Milburn

Jacqui Smith (social care and mental health)
John Hutton (NHS workforce)

Parliamentary secretaries:
Lord Hunt (Lords)
Yvette Cooper (public health)
Hazel Blears (critical care, acute services, NHS direct)

Transport, local government and the regions
Secretary of state:
Stephen Byers
Nick Raynsford (local government)
Lord Falconer (housing and planning)

Home Office
Secretary of state:
David Blunkett

Lord Rooker (asylum and immigration)
John Denham

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