Boris Johnson’s chief of staff defends savings targets

22 November 2012

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22 November 2012 | Anna Reynolds

The London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee has questioned whether the anticipated savings from the mayor’s plans for shared services across the Greater London Authority (GLA) are “too unambitious”.

The mayor has a target to save £600 million savings by 2016 in shared services and procurement across the whole group. There was previously a goal to save £450 million by 2014.

Discussing the proposals for the 2013/14 City Hall budget, committee chair and London assembly member John Biggs referred to these previous savings set by the former mayoral adviser Nicholas Griffin, which were not met. Biggs said: “I’m sure you are still bearing the scars from trying to pursue shared services agendas so it is understandable that this year’s targets are less ambitious. But are they too unambitious?”

The mayor’s chief of staff Sir Edward Lister disagreed, but admitted “we are concentrating our efforts on limited areas this time”. He identified three core areas of savings across the GLA, the first by Transport for London (TfL) is to create better procurement in its back office function. Savings will also be made from outsourcing and by reducing headcount. Lister said £2.5 million savings have already been made by TfL through improved efficiency.

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) is to carry out an audit of procurement across the whole of the GLA. The GLA is in the process of transferring all of its compulsory purchasing orders to TfL and is looking at more ways of working with MOPAC to get functions such as HR and treasury management working together.

Lister said the main priority for next year is to develop a single property unit for all professional service arms of the GLA involved in property, to share space and work together. Committee member Roger Evans suggested this could be an opportunity for a combined property strategy.

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