Government saves £140m through stricter ICT procurement rules

The government expects to have saved £140 million by the end of this financial year by simply demanding rigorous business cases to be provided for any significant ICT spend, Cabinet minister Francis Maude has announced.

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The government expects to have saved £140 million by the end of this financial year by demanding rigorous business cases to be provided for any significant ICT spend, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has announced.

Furthermore, ICT spend has only been approved "where it is absolutely necessary to bring government in line with standard business practices".

The savings are part of a total £5 billion in cash savings that the government anticipates it will save in the year to April, an increase on the amount saved last year (£3.75 billion). It said that £3.25 billion had already been saved over eight months.

"Our new business-like 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.

"But that is not all that has changed. For the first time, like any large business, we now have an effective operations centre at the heart of government – one that will keep delivering savings for the taxpayer year after year," Maude said.

Among the cost-saving measures is the government's £1.1 billion reduction in spend on consultants and temporary agency staff. It also reduced the number of civil service employees by 43,000 (nine percent) since June 2010, which has helped to save £800 million.

By centralising spend on common goods and services, the government also expects to save £295 million, and another £100 million by encouraging civil service employees to use cheaper modes of transport.

In addition, it has saved £130 million in its property costs by reducing its estate and taking better control of lease renewals.

In recent months, the government has worked to improve internal operations and make the delivery of public services more cost-effective via the work being done by the Government Digital Service, which has launched a beta version of the government single-domain website, for example.

It also launched the Major Projects Academy, which aims to improve in-house project management skills, to reduce the government's dependence on expensive, external consultants.

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