NAO criticises efficiency figures

15 February 2007
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15 February 2007 | Paul Snell

Nearly three quarters of the government's claimed £13.3 billion of efficiency savings "carry a significant risk of inaccuracy", according to Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office (NAO).

In a report published last week, The Efficiency Programme: A Second Review of Progress, the NAO said £3.1 billion of claimed efficiency gains may be "substantially incorrect" and £6.7 billion "carry some measurement issues and uncertainties".

The NAO found that although there had been progress in measurements since its critical report last February (News, 2 March 2006), there were still "long-standing weaknesses" in measurement systems. The report praised the OGC for improving its standards with comprehensive guidance on measurement, but said it was difficult to show quality was being maintained in a number of cases.

The NAO recommended making the process more transparent by making progress on efficiency programmes more publicly available. It also said departments must improve their measurements.

As SM went to press, the OGC hadn't issued a formal response to the report.

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