This Chapter applies the issues identified in Chapter Six to a case study of the Home Office to examine to what degree managerial accountability has remedied the shortcomings which have been identified with ministerial responsibility. Its findings are central to the wider study. If managerial accountability is found to be inadequate whilst also further obscuring the convention of ministerial responsibility then this may have important ramifications for the current state and future of responsible government in the United Kingdom. This argument is based on the clear trend away from the departmental structure of government towards a nexus of inter – and intra – organisational contracts which will increasingly threaten the continuing validity of ministerial responsibility. In order to examine the strengths and weaknesses of managerial accountability this chapter is structured around five interrelated themes.

Theme 1. The problems of clarifying and maintaining the minister/agency distinction.

Theme 2. Internal versus external accountability within the Home Office.

Theme 3. How information asymmetries are avoided, the role of audit mechanisms in the accountability relationship and the degree to which Home Office ministers remain ‘intelligent customers’.

Theme 4. The impact of contracting out on accountability, efficiency and ministerial control.

Theme 5. The effect of managerial accountability on ministerial responsibility to Parliament.