The government's Efficiency and Reform Group helped the public sector save some £10 billion between 2012 and 2013, with a big chunk of the savings coming from IT and digital.
According to the figures released today, the government has exceeded its £8 billion savings target for the period by 25 percent. It is hoped that by 2015 the public sector will be saving £20 billion a year.
Given the lack of detail in Efficiency and Reform Group’s report it is hard to say exactly how much of the £10 billion savings comes from IT and digital, but there is still insight to be gained from the breakdown of the figures.
For example, procurement made up £3.8 billion of the savings, with £0.8 billion of this attributed to centrally renegotiating large government contracts. Recent examples of this include discussions with SAP, Microsoft and Oracle that led to millions of pounds of savings in enterprise licences, by central government operating as one single buyer, instead of disparate departments.
“Working as a single customer across government puts us in a very powerful position to identify efficiencies and maximise our collective buying power,” said chief operating officer Stephen Kelly.
“More excitingly, it allows us to be creative in how we do things. This announcement shines the spotlight on some of the great work happening in departments, and it shows how the UK Civil Service is at the heart of a competent government.
“The Civil Service has the opportunity to play a crucial role in rebalancing our economy, creating space for the private sector and helping UK PLC to move ahead in the global race,” he added.
Also, the Group said that £0.5 billion of ‘transformation savings’ were down to IT spend controls and moving government services and transactions onto digital platforms. Some £42 million of this was created by replacing Directgov and BusinessLink with GOV.UK – the government’s recently launched central domain website.
The report also indicated that GOV.UK is currently getting one million hits a day.
Finally, the Group said that £126 million of savings were made through the use of framework agreements for telecoms services.
“This government is taking radical decisions to make Whitehall leaner and more efficient so Britain can compete in the global race. Civil servants across government are changing the ways they work and we are on the way to managing our finances like the best-run FTSE100 businesses,” said Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.
“We know there’s a long way still to go to achieve our ambitious plans for savings over the next few years. Hard-working taxpayers rightly expect their money to be spent judiciously. The Efficiency and Reform Group are the taxpayers’ champions in Whitehall.”
He added: “I am determined to push ahead with this savings programme and I would like to thank all the civil servants who have worked to make it happen so far.”