Government publishes per transaction costs of main public services

Government publishes per transaction costs of main public services

Transparency will enhance ministers' Digital by Default drive

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The government has released the cost per transaction for some of the biggest services it provides to citizens.

Every year it is estimated there are well over a billion transactions between British citizens and the state.  The move is about transparency and ensuring government is accountable for the cost and efficiency of the services it provides,” said Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.
"The UK Government has never done this before and, as far as we know, no other country systematically tells its citizens how much they pay for the services they use."

Maude said the move would set a baseline for service performance, which the public could use to see if the government was making progress in its move to make all government services "digital by default" and bringing costs down.

The government has released the cost-per-transaction data for 44 services; including child benefit claims, Companies House account filing, practical driving test bookings, and student finance applications.

Taken together these 44 services process over a billion transactions every year, and 88 percent of the total handled by central government.

They cost just over £2 billion a year to run, the government said.

The costs range from 5p for Stamp Duty Reserve Tax returns and 47p to pay Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN), to £223 to process visa applications and £727 to process every claim through the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) managed by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

A data file of the costs of the 44 services, that can be downloaded from


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