25 June 2009 | Jake Kanter
Spending less and getting value for money are the priorities for most public sector finance directors (FDs) this year.
A survey by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA), commissioned by Civica, found 93 per cent of 129 public sector FDs had cost-cutting at the top of their agendas. It follows the government's five-year, £15 billion savings target for the public sector in April's Budget (Web news, 22 April 2009).
Ian Carruthers, director of policy & technical at CIPFA, said finance professionals were under "enormous pressure" to deliver value for money, while maintaining the integrity of local services.
Many of those surveyed said this could be achieved through better procurement. Some 57 per cent of the FDs said they were "well placed" to boost joint purchasing with other public bodies and deliver procurement savings.
The government's Operational Efficiency Programme this year found £6.1 billion of annual savings were possible through harnessing the public sector's collective buying power.
Over three-quarters - 83 per cent - of the respondents believe a new government would introduce further efficiency savings targets.