Cabinet Office demand management to continue – and is the centralisation initiative slipping?

The clamp-down on consulting and advertising spend, as well as controls on IT projects and recruitment, are all to continue, the UK Cabinet Office and Treasury announced yesterday. The moratoria announced last summer after the election are set to continue right up to 2015.

It's a demonstration of the power of demand management as a cost-reduction tactic; it may be a blunt instrument, but my goodness it can be an effective blunt instrument. And there's no doubt that real money has been saved - and a lot of it - in areas such as consultancy. We might see a few more supplying firms going under now , giving up the fight if they've been hanging on in the hope of work coming back in 2011.

In terms of new initiatives, there's more control on Departments' redundancy programmes, and the announcement says that a "Major Projects Authority is set up to oversee the effective management of all large-scale projects which are funded and delivered by central government".   A good move we think.

Finally, the announcement covers the centralising commodity procurement across Whitehall initiative, saying;

Nine categories of common goods and services, including energy, office suppliers and travel, will be procured centrally by October 2011 to achieve better value for money for the Crown estate. Negotiations and legal disputes with strategic suppliers will be channelled through Cabinet Office to harness bulk purchasing and negotiating power.

(My highlighting).  Hhhmm.

Wasn't central procurement going to be rolled out by the end of the financial year (end of this month)? I need to look back at previous announcements.  We'll report back on that post Poirot-type sleuthing. Happy to apologise if I'm wrong but this has the distinct taste of project slippage (although to be fair I wouldn't personally have signed up to get this done by March)!

Voices (3)

  1. Christine Morton:

    And in other Cabinet Office news, I attended a PFI/PPP conference today where the day’s first speaker was Adrian Kamellard. He said to the crowd that “about £800m has been saved” as a result of the ERG programme.

  2. The Final Furlong:

    Let’s borrow one of your most recent analogies…

    I imagine that, frustratingly, for the ‘race organisers’ (and ‘firm favourites’), this race is having to progress at the speed of the slowest horse.

    And as you know, most spectators and punters tend to congregate near to, or around, the finishing line which can be quite frustrating when watching this sort of race.

    I can imagine that the slowest horse is dragging a old fashioned cart, with only three wheels, overladen with considerable baggage. No doubt, there will hurdles, hedges and water-jumps in this race, and the ground won’t be firm.

    Due to race rules, all horses will have to cross, or be dragged across, the finishing line at the same time – even if they are lame, or have no rider.

    There may be plenty of jockeying for positions – likely to happen when they’re round the bend.

    If any rider is unseated during the race, race organisers may need to continue, but any such decision will have to be taken on the hoof.

    Any horse who gets ahead of their rider, and, potentially, of other horses, will, of course, be reined in.

    After the race, race stewards and groundsmen will have to clean up all or any horsesh*t left behind.

    An outsider may try and sneak a complete donkey (presented to race organisers as a thoroughbred) into the race to slow it down even further.

    The odds are that it will be an odd sort of race. Until the next race, that is, when they’ll all bring their elephants into the room.

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