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Clegg seeks ideas for savings


The Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has launched a website where people who work with taxpayers’ money can submit suggestions on how to cut waste in the public sector.

The party says its ‘Ask the People in the Know project recognises that serious savings will have to be made to bring public finances under control and seeks the expertise of those working in the public sector on how to cut out waste while protecting services.

Source: Peter Searle

Mr Clegg said: “Hardworking nurses and teachers tell me how frustrated they are by the money which is still wasted on needless paperwork, administration and computer systems that don’t work.

“David Cameron and Gordon Brown are having a sterile debate about the size of the total Whitehall budget. But they’re asking the wrong question: we first need to find out if money is being spent on the right things.

“The people who are best placed to tell us where money is not being well spent are the teachers, nurses, social workers and other public servants who work so hard day and night to serve the public.”

Mr Clegg has also told The Guardian that he wants hospitals to be forced to reduce the costs of operations to the lowest tariff in the country.

Under the Lib Dem plan, hospital trusts would be forced to charge the same rate for operations as the cheapest and most efficient hospitals in the country.


Readers' comments (4)

  • Jon Harvey

    Great initiative which I support - although my blog started first!

    A news blog to collect ideas from around the world - of where small changes have been made to the public & third sector services that have resulted in big benefits. I am looking for ‘bite sized’ ideas that have helped your organisation deliver more to your local communities, or helped make work even more efficient, or just saved some money or staff/officer time. And the idea could be applied elsewhere reasonably easily and is probably not widely known elsewhere.

    (First post: 26/2/09 !!)


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  • There are three ideas to consider:

    1) Has the long term fragmentation of Local Government made services better, more accessible for customers, created better value for money, or led to the growth in quangos, with more Chief Executives, Directors, IT systems, HR departments etc., etc.

    2) Does treating the public sector like a child, telling it what it must do, demanding certain (inappropriate) systems are used, Police and Children’s’ risk register for instance actually help. Does ever increasing legislation, rafts of ill considered targets and forever changing concepts enable sensible planning.

    3) Why is the Government so fearful of Systems Thinking / Lean methods of work to be globally employed? Is it because they are totally committed to 'Command and Control' and the need to blame people?

    The way forward will be via a controlled relaxation of mandates. Allow empowerment to radically address change in a robust way that doesn't require the twin handcuffs of Risk Management and Governance to stifle every positive way forward.

    Dave Gaster
    MD Support Services Direct (and 25 years senior LG experience)

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  • The challenge for politicians is so simple. We need to end the culture where people have to pretend that initiatives from the top actually work. We need to learn early and decisively about misplaced policies.
    Oh, and unfortunately it takes about ten years for organisations to learn how to work together constructively on the basis of good management information. So reorganisation comes at a huge cost.
    In the areas I have worked including housing and health whole organisations and major departments fail to get a grip on what they are doing. Either savings or improvements in outcomes are really not hard, but they are not accessible from where we stand.

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  • Jon Harvey

    I have always wondered if the one remaining Chartist demand that has not been implemented - that of annual general elections - would actually lead to more longer term thinking (see Would this help the Government - whoever is in power - 'let go' of target based dictats and actually spend their time assisting / leading public services (local and national) do their real job...?

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