"Do the public have a right to understand why some government decisions go so badly wrong? That question is at the heart of a power struggle which is being fought in Westminster and Whitehall.
"The leading figure on one side is the fiercely energetic chair of the MPs on the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge. She has upset the Civil Service with her searing inquiries into waste and mismanagement in government because she has adopted the novel view that senior civil servants should be held responsible for their actions and their advice.
"On the other side, leading the fight to maintain the status quo and determined to stop this trend for public accountability before it goes any further is the ex-head of the civil service and one-time moderniser, Lord (Gus) O’Donnell. The conflict between them, which broke into the open with the leaking of a silkily unpleasant and highly critical letter from O’Donnell to Hodge last month, will ratchet up this Thursday when Hodge gives a speech to the think tank Policy Exchange, setting out just why she and Parliament shouldn’t allow these vested interests to keep their actions hidden from the rest of us."