11 February 2011 | Adam Leach
Local councils should reduce spending on IT projects before
stopping funding for local voluntary organisations said Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.
His criticism of authorities’ response to government funding
cuts was broadcast on the BBC 1’s QuestionTime last night.
Maude said: “Some councils, sadly, and I regret it, are
actually cutting funding to local voluntary organisations.”
He suggested they follow central government’s strategy, which
is to “squeeze our overhead cost, get out of property we don’t need and stop
the wasteful ICT projects”.
His comments were in response to a question from an audience member who was
concerned that government funding cuts to councils would cripple the state of
Earlier this week, SM reported how
the Cabinet Office failed to announce new procurement rules for ICT to meet its
January deadline. The department’s structural reform plan monthly
implementation update revealed it has also failed to identify the first tranche
of ICT projects to be decommissioned as part of its major projects review.
Peter Howarth, CEO of the Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government said: “We need to look at ways to work more effectively with voluntary organisations, but the costs of IT projects and running voluntary organisations are separate. Budgets don’t work that way and he knows that.”
David Pointon, procurement manager at PortsmouthCity Council,
said councils already have a good record for making efficiency savings. “Local
authorities have been almost spectacular in achieving the savings against its
targets, historically we’ve performed extremely well,” he said.
Leeds City Council leader Keith Wakefield has
unveiled “painful” decisions about its proposed budget. Following news that £50
million is to be taken away in government funding, the council must reduce its
overall spend by £25 million in 2011/12. The procurement team must cut its
spend by £20 million.
said the government’s massive spending reductions left him with “no choice
other than to reduce services”. “Leeds, like many other northern cities, has
received one of the worst settlements in the country and we’re left to deal
with the consequences,” he said.
Maude has invited SME suppliers to attend a ‘strategic summit’ at HM Treasury. The event will be used to gather views from smaller vendors about engagement with
government over potential contracts.