Government wants IT to help £5bn saving drive

The government has said IT and back office efficiencies would help it save £5 billion over the next 12 months.

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The government has said IT and back office efficiencies would help it save £5 billion over the next 12 months.

Under an efficiency plan, to be announced by Treasury secretary Yvette Cooper later this month, savings from IT will be a large area of focus, as the government tries to improve the value gained from projects currently running. More efficient back office operations will also play a part.

A large cost cutting drive in IT purchasing is key part of the plan, a spokesperson told Computerworld UK. "After consultation with the private sector, there is the suggestion that between 10 and 50 percent could be cut from IT procurement costs," he said, adding that the government spends around £7 billion annually on IT provision.

Setting better government-wide frameworks for IT contracts would play a part, he said.

The changes are a continuation of cuts made by the government under the operational efficiency targets of the 2004 Gershon Review. Under that review, £23 billion has been saved so far, according to the Treasury.

The new savings are also in addition to the £30 billion cost cutting over the next three years under the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Other areas of focus will be the bulk buying of supplies, as well as better use of property and improved asset management.

Calling for the government to have "a better bang for our bucks", Cooper said that "we need to go further, I want us to build further on the work underway in the Comprehensive Spending Review”.

Last week the government was slammed for claiming it could save £1.4 billion through the use of shared services, when it did not know what the services cost. The Committee of Public Accounts said in a report that the government's savings claim was “a flimsy estimate at best”.

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