Carney Told to Overhaul Bank of England Culture

  • National Audit Office completes probe into ‘One Bank’ plan
  • BOE launched new three-year strategic plan last month

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England (BOE), gestures while speaking in London.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg Direct Download

The Bank of England must do more to maximize its overhaul of the three-century-old institution, according to the U.K.’s public-spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office, which probed the effectiveness of the BOE’s 2014 “One Bank” reorganization, said while the central bank had made progress during the three-year plan on changing some aspects of its culture, it has further to go in terms of empowering staff and streamlining decision-making.

The comments come after Governor Mark Carney last month began his latest revamp -- called Vision 2020 -- which will focus on the BOE’s communications and seek to encourage employees to share ideas with each other and talk directly with policy makers. 

The NAO’s analysis of the previous strategic plan, which is estimated to end up costing 95 million pounds ($107 million), found while there were shortcomings on how management tracked progress, and delays in improving the BOE’s computer-data architecture, overall there was “good progress” in building a more joined-up institution.

“Embedding cultural change and delivering significant data projects will require a longer-term sustained effort,” Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said in an emailed statement. “The bank will need to focus on these issues, with better scrutiny of costs up-front and greater clarity on what it wishes to achieve.”

In five out of the BOE’s six governorship divisions, less than half of employees agreed decisions were made at “an appropriate level,” the NAO said, citing a staff survey. The NAO also said external parties who dealt with the central bank commented that it appeared hierarchical with workers wanting to refer back to managers even when dealing with less sensitive issues.

In relation to the BOE’s new revamp, the NAO recommended the BOE should consider doing more to empower staff, scrutinize costs and better measure progress against its objectives.

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