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17 February 2012 | Adam Leach
Savings of £5 billion will be delivered in Whitehall this year adding to the £3.75 billion saved in 2011, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has pledged.
Speaking today, Maude reiterated his commitment to “root out waste” in central government as he announced that smarter procurement had delivered substantial savings through centralisation and leveraging spend, among other cost saving measures.
Maude said: “There can and will be no turning back in the ongoing hunt to root out waste in Whitehall and cut costs to protect frontline services. Our new businesslike approach and steely determination to get value for taxpayers’ money means we now expect to make £5 billion in cash savings by the time this financial year is out.”
Savings already achieved include £295 million by centralising spend on common goods and services and £100 million saved on civil service travel costs through better deals, cheaper modes of travel and a reduction in the number of journeys made. The most significant saving came from cutting spending on temporary staff and consultants, with £1.1 billion of taxpayers money saved. In addition £140 million was cut from ICT spend, which the department attributed to more rigorous controls to stop needless spending.
Also, £130 million was saved by reducing spend on government-owned property – exerting better controls over leases and reducing the size of the estate by 416,597sqm helped achieve the spending cut.
Last year’s savings of £3.75 billion were recently corroborated by independent body the National Audit Office. In the report, the NAO praised the work carried out by the Efficiency & Reform Group (ERG) to deliver savings through centralising some spending.
Meanwhile, it was announced today that Home Office group commercial director Bill Crothers has been appointed to the post of executive director – supplier relationships at the Cabinet Office. He will report directly to permanent secretary Ian Watmore.
Crothers will be leading and managing the crown's relationship with strategic suppliers through the network of crown commercial representatives. His new role will include seeking more savings, encouraging new supplier entrants and resolving major disputes with suppliers.
Crothers leaves the Home Office at the end of March to start his new position.