Francis Maude named Minister for the Cabinet Office

Tory moderniser to head department that houses the Office of the Third Sector

Francis Maude
Francis Maude

Francis Maude has been appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office, the government department that houses the Office of the Third Sector.

Another Conservative MP, Oliver Letwin, has been appointed minister of state at the Cabinet Office, where he will provide policy advice to Prime Minister David Cameron. Both will attend Cabinet meetings but will be unable to vote.

An announcement on the new minister for the third sector is expected soon. Nick Hurd, shadow third sector minister until the general election, told Third Sector this morning that he had not heard any news on the appointment.

A letter from Maude and Hurd to voluntary sector leaders last month pledged to turn the Office of the Third Sector into an Office for Civil Society should the Conservatives win the election, although it is not yet clear whether this will happen under the coalition government.

Maude is regarded as a Tory moderniser who has played a major role in moving the Conservatives to the centre ground of politics. A former party chairman, he was appointed shadow Cabinet Office secretary in 2007, a position he held until the general election.

This year Maude accused Labour of "initiative-itis", which he said resulted in lots of small funds "spraying money in an unfocused way" and excessive bureaucracy.

He said the Tories would be blind to which sector delivered services. "We should mind only about the outcome," he said.

Letwin, the author of the Conservative manifesto, provoked controversy this year when he said some charities spent too much time campaigning.

Former Conservative Party chairman Eric Pickles has been appointed Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, a role that is expected to play a part in implementing the ‘big society' agenda.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, who has championed the work of smaller charities and expressed concerns about the increasingly close relationship between big charities and government, has been appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Former shadow third sector minister Greg Clark is among the members of the Tories' 32-strong shadow team not to have been appointed to the Cabinet.

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