More efficiency savings (the nation yawns…)

Gordon Brown's announcement on more efficiency savings seems to have drawn a somewhat 'ho hum' response from the media.  There's a lot more of this to come before the election, so it will be interesting to see if anyone can come up with ideas that can actually grab the public's attention (in a good way)?  But in truth, an additional £3 billion savings over 4 years is a drop in the ocean of public debt; I expected something a bit more dramatic.  And a smart move by the Tories (in media terms at least) to announce their productivity panel at the same time, including such luminaries as Sir Peter Gershon.  Anyway, I will read the entire 70 page document this week and perhaps give a more detailed post then.

The headlines have gone to the idea of publishing top salaries; but it does occur to me that the law of unintended consequences could come into play here.  I wonder how many procurement staff will feature in the 'over £150K' salary list?  Not many I suspect.  But if a few do make it, might that make others more likely to say 'hang on, if Fred is on £150K, I'm underpaid here!'  And of course that may apply to Local Authority Chief Execs and others; my experience is that exposing salaries tends to drive them upwards not downwards.   But I do sympathise personally with the aim;  not mentioning any particular organisations here, but some do seem to have got totally out of hand in terms of what they offer.

The other point I immediately noted was the projected cut in consulting spend.  If that means less unthinking use of the top firms, and more careful consideration of using specialist firms, interims and so on at lower rates, then great news!

Anyway, more to follow.

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  1. David Gleadhill:

    I can’t quite accept the view that reducing the number of consultants used by the public sector and increasing the level of efficiencies go hand in hand. My recent conversations with Government Departments have suggested that efficiencies will be driven by increasing the level of outsourcing, particularly in the area of back office support services and this will require consultancy support to drive through the outsourcing competitions. Plenty of work for consultants in the public sector in the future I think!!

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