National Audit Office highlights Government’s failed efficiency drive

A spending watchdog has recently highlighted that the government have wasted millions of pounds due to a failed efficiency drive that has been taking place for the last seven years.

Back-office functions for the government were intended to be shared in an effort to save over £150 million. This sharing method is commonly used in private companies to reduce costs by up to 20 percent.

The National Audit Office has highlighted, however, that the savings have not been seen at all, in fact it has been inordinately expensive to achieve the £150 million cost savings. Estimates by the Office state that the government have spent around £1.5 billion in order to save the money.

There have been many problems associated with the sharing of back-office functions. Many of these are to do with security clearance as some governmental departments do not have sufficient access to the Whitehall computing system for sharing to go ahead.

An example of this has been how the coastguard agency was unable to share the functions because it does not have access to the restricted computer system for the Department for Transport.

The Department for Transport overall has spent nearly £130 million more on establishing the efficiency measures than they have actually saved. The NAO have said they feel it is going to be very difficult for the government to break even on this efficiency scheme.

It is feared that this could just be the tip of the iceberg with regard to the failed efficiency drive. Currently the NAO have only managed to report on two of the departments involved in the efficiency scheme.

There are three other efficiency schemes that have not yet been assessed and it is expected that there efficiency savings might be even less than the currently assessed departments.