A round up of key recent events in efficiency.
NOTE: Click on the headlines for more on the stories.
In an audit of the £638m of targeted savings made by Capital Ambition, London’s improvement and efficiency partnership, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy said it was only prepared to “externally validate” £391m. (LGCplus report)
Whitehall mandarins drew up plans before the general election on implementing the Conservatives’ pledge to save an extra £6bn, according to The Times. Each department had to propose savings, including renegotiating IT contracts, banning consultancy staff and freezing recruitment. (LGCplus report)
Before the general election, the Local Government Association said it would offer to help the new government develop more cost-effective services in return for a commitment to localism and fairness on efficiencies. Deputy chair Richard Kemp (Lib Dem) said the work could progress the findings from the Total Place pilots but could also be much wider. (LGCplus report)
Six local authorities in south west Wales agreed to develop a shared legal service, involving closer collaboration between their legal staff and a greater pooling of resources. (Local Government Lawyer report)
The findings of the Operational Efficiency Programme, a year-long project examining operational spending in the public sector, showed scope for £15bn of efficiency savings. Five senior external advisers identified savings from back-office operations and IT, collaborative procurement, asset management and sales, property and local incentives and empowerment. Their assessment was that about £6bn of the savings will be delivered as part of plans in the current spending review period, contributing to the £35bn efficiency target.
Scotland’s minister for children and early years, Adam Ingram, told MSPs it might be necessary to redesign social care services in the face of budget cuts. Mr Ingram highlighted various examples, including smart, plug-in technology being used in West Lothian. There, electronic movement sensors, coupled with “flexible, responsive and joined-up care-at-home services”, were supporting people to stay in their own homes and proving to be a catalyst for changing the culture of the workforce.
FM World, the online magazine of the British Institute of Facilities Management, reported that local authorities were wary of savings targets. More than eight out of 10 local government decision-makers believed £5.5bn of efficiency savings by 2011 was “optimistic”, according to a survey of 152 local government senior managers by Interserve. Additionally, 91% of respondents expected a reduction in their government-allocated budget.
The Management Consultancies Association (MCA) published a policy paper with 10 suggestions for cutting the public sector deficit. The tips suggested by MCA members could save the government more than £25bn each year while protecting and improving frontline services. Major savings included £11bn across London by increasing government agency collaboration, £8bn which could be saved by sharing services, and more than £6bn which could be saved by applying ‘Lean’ principles to the NHS.
The Future of Performance Management: 2010 and Beyond, LGC Conferences, 25-26 May, London.