The Plowden Report

  • Richard Clarke
  • Alec Cairncross


The Plowden Committee began to work in October 1959. The chairman was supported by Sir Sam Brown, Sir Jeremy Raisman and Mr (later Lord) John Wall, all of whom had had much experience in public administration; with six permanent and deputy secretaries from the Treasury and other departments, who were more properly described as assessers, for they could not sign the reports. It must be recalled that this was an internal Treasury enquiry, responsible directly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and it proceeded by making interim reports to him, the first of which, covering the fundamental issues before the Committee, were presented at the beginning of June 1960. One must note from these dates that the Committee moved with effective speed: when I became an assesser in January 1960, the discussion of the basic principles was already well under way, and the questions of what could practically be done, rather than what was desirable, were beginning to dominate the situation. As the enquiry proceeded, it became clear that it would be necessary to produce a published report, and this was of course done [Cmnd 1432 of July 1961]: it covered the whole range of the Committee’s deliberations, and only omitted those points that the Committee wished to keep confidential to the Chancellor and his senior colleagues.


Cash Flow Public Expenditure Senior Colleague Permanent Secretary Resource Appraisal 
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  1. 6.
    Sir Samuel Goldman, Public Expenditure Management and Control (HMSO, 1973) p. 11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lady Clarke 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Clarke
  • Alec Cairncross

There are no affiliations available

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