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In theory and going back almost 500 years, to Cecil's time, there should be tension between the Council and the Political realm and, within the political realm, between the Executive and the Legislature which controls the pursestrings. The idea of the Privy Council Office is that it is the custodian of and actively manages the "deep state" or, more properly, the "administrative state" which, I believe, is an essential component of the modern nation-state, democratic or not.Hasn't the PCO only ever been accountable to the PMO?
The Privy Council Office, for example has - should have, anyway - its own "long term plan" for Canada which is quite independent of the political platforms and policies of any political party. That's not a conspiracy; it's just sound strategic planning made all the more important because political parties have, since the 1930s, developed shorter and shorter time scales for their national "visions." This is where "Yes Minister" comes in handy - it is, you see, only part comedy, it's also part documentary. Actor John Nettleton's portrayal of Sir Arnold Robinson, the Cabinet Secretary, is based on very real characters and does portray how the "deep state" tries its best to manage the expectations and actions of the elected Executive. The contest of wills between Prime Minister Hacker (10 Downing Street) and the Cabinet Office Whitehall) is very real and we have seen it play out more publicly than usual (or even desirable) in Britain over the past couple years (Johnson/Truss/Sunak).
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was, in any opinion, correct when, in 2015, he wanted to focus of "deliverology." Where he (in reality, Butts and Telford) went wrong was to try to put the "deliverology" man, Matthew Mendelsohn, in the PCO, where he didn't fit and wasn't ever accepted, rather then in the PMO where he belonged.
To put things simply:
- The PMO directs ministers - they are political actors and serve at the pleasure of the PM and set policy;
- The PCO directs deputy ministers - they are bureaucrats who are also hand picked by the PM, on the advice of the Clerk and they deliver programmes, or not.