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10 September 2010

Government implements saving ideas submitted through the Spending Challenge

The Government announced today that three ideas submitted to the Spending Challenge by members of the public and public sector workers will be implemented as policy by the Government. These are the first to be introduced and will help the Government reduce the deficit.

The three ideas are examples of how the common-sense suggestions, submitted to the Government through the Spending Challenge website, can make savings for the taxpayer and help the Government reduce the deficit and rebalance the country’s economy.

The three ideas being introduced are:

1. To reduce the number of CRB checks for Junior Doctors, by taking a more common- sense approach across the NHS, so that junior doctors are not checked repeatedly over a short space of time. This will save up to a £1 million a year and cut administrative burdens for the NHS;

2. To distribute National Insurance numbers to people with a letter rather than a plastic card, saving Government up to a £1 million per year;

3. Increase the selling of surplus and second hand Government equipment by expanding the use of the MoDs eDisposals service for use across all Government departments and the piloting of an online auction site.

All of these ideas were submitted through the Government’s Spending Challenge website. The Government has received over 100,000 ideas through the Spending Challenge. Over 63,000 have come from public sector employees and the rest from the general public website.

Speaking after meeting some of the people who submitted these ideas, the Chancellor George Osborne MP, said:

“These are the people’s ideas. Over 100,000 suggestions have been put to us and now we’re starting to put some of them into practice. In doing so, we are directly tapping the experience of those working in the frontline of public services instead of assuming Ministers in Whitehall have all the answers.

“No one idea will solve the problems we face, but taken together they can make a real contribution to reducing the deficit and rebalancing the country’s economy at a crucial time. People’s ideas will have a real impact on the tough decisions ahead.”

Other ideas submitted through the Spending Challenge are being considered by the relevant Government department. If they offer an opportunity to make practical savings for the Government, they may be introduced as part of the Spending Review this autumn.

Notes for editors

Changes to the National Insurance Number Card:

1. In 2011, the Government will introduce a new system for distributing National Insurance numbers to people which will see the plastic National Insurance number card replaced with a letter.

2. In the interim, a letter will be sent instead of replacement cards, saving £100,000 in 2010/11.

3. HMRC issues young people a National Insurance number card (NINO card) at the age of 15 years and 9 months, to migrant workers within the UK and also issues replacement cards to people who request one.

4. Initial estimates show that the replacement of a plastic NINO card with a letter will provide savings of up to £1 million per annum in the upfront costs to HMRC.

5. The NINO card is not a recognised form of ID within the UK, but is simply a reminder to the holder of the card of their National Insurance number. The replacement of the NINO with a letter would only replace the physical form in which this reminder was produced.

Changes to CRB checks for Junior Doctors:

6. The Government will establish a more common-sense approach to CRB checks for Junior Doctors, reducing the costs incurred by the NHS when a Junior Doctor moves position as part of their training. Currently, NHS employers regularly make CRB checks every time a Doctor moves position and, as Junior Doctors move every 6 months as part of their training, this increases costs and administrative burden for the NHS.

7. The Department of Health will now make sure that NHS employers are aware that they can take a more common sense approach to CRB checks and allow existing CRB checks to be used, simplifying checks for Junior Doctors and reducing costs. NHS employers will continue to require the normal references and other pre-employment checks that they should be undertaking in any case. 

8. The change to CRB checks for junior doctors will save up to £1million a year for the NHS.

Selling on surplus Government equipment through an online auction site:

9. The Government will now pilot the use of an online auction site to sell on surplus and second hand Government equipment.

10. The Cabinet Office and the MOD will launch a pilot project this autumn that will develop the existing MOD eDisposals service, including the eDisposals website, for use across all Government departments. The website will allow all Government departments to sell on old or unused equipment so that the money made can be reinvested in public services.

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