15 June 2010
Responsibility for The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the public sector procurement agency, Buying Solutions, will move to the Cabinet Office where they will form part of the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), the Prime Minister announced today.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said the move will bring together in one place all the cross-government operational functions, including procurement, project management, IT and Civil Service workforce and reform functions.
The Efficiency and Reform Group will have a strong mandate at the centre of government to ensure departments work together to quickly tackle waste and improve accountability across all these areas. The Group’s work is overseen by an Efficiency Board, co-chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
In a further boost for the work of the Efficiency and Reform Group, Francis Maude has announced that three senior business leaders, who have all worked in Whitehall, will bring their years of experience to the Efficiency Board. They are:
Francis Maude said that today's announcements will inject pace and energy into the critical work of the Efficiency and Reform Group:
“We want a slim but strong centre that can drive down the cost of government, so protecting as best we can the crucial front line services on which our citizens depend.
“The changes I am announcing today will bring together our operational capability to form a single strong but streamlined group to drive efficiency across Government. By taking this really tough stance on inefficiency and waste, we can tackle Britain's massive budget deficit and bring order back to the country’s finances, whilst protecting vital frontline services.
“Our new board members will be critical in making this happen. Sir Peter Gershon, Lucy Neville-Rolfe and Martin Read have varied business expertise combined with deep understanding of the unique challenges of government. They’ll be energetic and challenging, and I’m grateful that they have stepped up to offer their valuable service to the country.”
Sir Peter Gershon, who will lead on looking at procurement issues, said:
“Whilst tackling the budget deficit is a challenge, I am convinced that by bringing experts together and harnessing the talents of the public sector we can start to make improvements immediately. We will need to be creative and innovative in order to make a real difference and look at new ways of working.”
Dr Martin Read, a senior businessman who led the 2008/2009 Government review on back office operations and IT across the public sector, said:
"The long term health of the UK economy is critically dependent on securing value for money across the public sector. The Efficiency and Reform Group has a crucial role to play in ensuring that cost reduction becomes a fundamental management objective in the public sector and I look forward to supporting this initiative."
Lucy Neville-Rolfe, who will be looking at workforce issues, said:
"In these challenging economic times, greater efficiency and effectiveness in government can play a large part in helping to make Britain a better and a fairer place to live and work. I am delighted to lend my experience to this important work."
In a further example of the new business-like approach to government, today the Cabinet Office became the first government department to publish its structural reform plan, setting out its new priorities, with implementation milestones clearly exposed for public scrutiny. Other departments will publish their plans in due course.