Whitehall's poorest efficiency performers face more pressure

20 April 2009

21 April 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie

A senior procurement figure has suggested taking money away from Whitehall departments that fail to meet savings targets, according to media reports.

Martin Read, former chief executive of Logica, told the Financial Times today that local authorities, the police, health and other parts of the public sector should also face the same consequences.

Read headed the back office and IT strand of the Operational Efficiency Programme review.

The Operational Efficiency Programme was launched by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper in July last year, and is to be reported back today or with tomorrow's Budget.

According to the Financial Times, Read said his review had concluded that about £4 billion from the estimated £18 billion cost of back-office functions could be saved across the public sector over the next three years, with another £3.2 billion saving on other IT projects that cost about £16 billion.

"There is huge variation in these costs across the public sector," he said, highlighting those at the Prison Service as "best in class", even against the private sector.

Details about how the idea to take money away from departments not meeting savings targets were not given.

In March, it was reported that Cooper had written to Cabinet ministers in all Whitehall departments to demand cutbacks in various services (Web news, 23 March 2009).

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