Operational Efficiency Programme
07 December 2009
The Operational Efficiency Programme was launched by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 3rd July 2008.
Building on the SR04 Efficiency Programme, which successfully delivered over £26.5 billion in savings, and on plans to deliver another £35 billion in savings as part of the CSR07 value for money programme, the Operational Efficiency Programme has taken a close look at achieving greater efficiency in a number of cross-cutting areas. Reviews were conducted by experienced individuals whose advice and recommendations were published alongside Budget 2009 (Final Report) and in May 2009 (supplementary documents on: back office and IT; collaborative procurement; and, property).
The reviewed areas and lead advisors were:
- back office operations and IT, led by Dr Martin Read
- collaborative procurement, led by Martin Jay
- asset management and sales, led by Gerry Grimstone
- property, led by Lord Carter of Coles
- local incentives and empowerment, led by Sir Michael Bichard
The recommendations were accepted by Cabinet, and work is ongoing to deliver against them. Alongside the publication of ‘Putting the Frontline First’ (7 December 2009), two related documents were published:
Benchmarking the Back Office: Central Government (external PDF) in response to the first Back Office recommendation to gather and publish data for operations across central departments, agencies and NDPBs.
Operational Efficiency Programme: Asset Portfolio (external PDF) which sets out those state owned assets that the Government might seek to commercialise over the medium term. The Asset Portfolio includes a new framework to govern which government activities should be managed as a business and which should be sold.
A number of themes emerged throughout the programme, building on the best of private and public sector practice to achieve:
consistent, comparable data – organisations need consistent, comparable data to be able to benchmark their performance against others to know whether the services they deliver constitute good value for money. Both public and private sector best practice should be used to raise standards
incentives – an effective system of incentives and sanctions across the public sector would create the right conditions for all organisations and individuals to maximise their contribution to the delivery of high quality public services in an efficient manner
structures and tools – the right structures (e.g. shared service centres and professional buying organisations) and tools (such as software which allows access to collaborative procurement deals) need to be in place to help organisations and their staff achieve the savings they are being asked to achieve
accountability and performance management – organisations should have the flexibility to decide on the most appropriate methods of delivering savings, suited to their circumstances, but all elements of the public sector must respond to the efficiency challenge. To maximise the benefits across the public sector, there is a need for robust, proportionate accountability mechanisms. With consistent, comparable data, those who are currently under-performing can be identified and supported to improve quickly
Full details of findings and recommendations can be found in the Operational Efficiency Programme: final report.
More details on the terms of reference for each workstrand can be found in the Operational Efficiency Programme Prospectus.
Back to top