HM Treasury

Public spending & reporting

Spending Challenge: ideas

These examples show some of the main themes and ideas that have been put forward via the public sector Spending Challenge website.

They are not ideas that have been shortlisted for further work or implementation but they will all be considered individually alongside the other 60,000 ideas that have been put forward.

1. Each public sector organisation has its own support functions, such as HR, Information services, Facilities, Finance etc. This means there is huge duplication of functions and costs. The spending review team should look into whether any economy of scale can be achieved through departments sharing these support functions, such as one HR department for all local authorities etc

2. Office stationery orders should be centralised in each Government Department, this will be more cost effective and well managed. At the moment each unit/divisions place their orders through their divisional budget. There are surplus items such as envelopes, staples, pens etc  through out the department. For a start we can use the departmental intranet site to inform and redistribute surplus stationery items that we currently hold - a good housekeeping exercise.  Second point, there should be more communication lines open and knowledge sharing across all central government departments, this will cut down the cost of using outside contractors/consultants for specialised areas of work. Savings can be made if we stop working in isolation, this working culture must change.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to make a contribution in a small way.

3. My focus for attention relates to IT. There should be a renegotiation of IT contracts across the board in government - as these contracts are poor with regards to their costings matrix and the rates charged. I know of an instance where a contract was negotiated (which was managed by a policy team) where the supplier charged over £12,000 to make textual changes - which they then inputted incorrectly and then recharged again. Amends should be inbuilt into contracts so they do not get charged for in this way. Similarly [other places have contracts] where they charge to give quotes - this process should be scrapped so we can get a better service from suppliers. Procurement processes should also be made easier so more suppliers can get on to the rostas and fairer competition can be put into play. Currently the process is incredibly laborious and Government is not getting the best IT suppliers coming through. IT is a very fluid industry and suppliers and their abilities change all the time - so an easier process would insure new blood comes into the system who would be more cost effective and bring better ideas into the IT world. The Government gateway contract also needs to be renegotiated so that amends can be put through at any stage, rather than within cycles. At present there are broken links on government gateway  - which cant be changed until September. Additionally I would also collate all citizen research from COI in a central depository so that customer information profiles could be built up. Government departments commissioning information from COI can end up commissioning the same work twice and there is no way of knowing what has gone before or is going on across the piece.

4. Lots of ill considered new initiatives have been introduced with little or no consultation from those of us on the front line. Money has been wasted producing thousands of glossy folders for reference - (one for each teacher in my school) We have been given too many targets which has resulted, in some schools, the child becoming  a secondary consideration. Schools need staff - good teachers and TAs NOT glossy folders, cds modelling ideal lessons (which are often obviously staged) and time consuming unnecessary paperwork.

5. All PC's are left switched on overnight and at weekends so that they can accept updates to software such as anti virus. If we install wake on LAN hardware then PC's could be turned off when not in use and still receive updates it would also reduce the manpower required for updates as no one would have to go to each pc that had been switched off and boot it up. This would save around 200KWh/year per PC based on 8 hours on per day use. 150 euros saving per pc per year according to  There are a lot of PCs in the armed forces and no doubt this practice occurs in other departments too.  It is my opinion that the conversion to wake on LAN would pay for its self within a single year even if it were to be contracted out to a civilian company and would provide a significant saving in all following years.

6. Every NHS employee is required to have a CRB clearance each time they start work in a new NHS trust as they are not portable between NHS trusts. This is fine. However, as junior doctors, we move between hospitals every 6 months. And hence, I have had to have (the same kind of) CRB clearance thrice in the last year. This is absurd, expensive and bureaucratic hurdle for the trainees and trusts. Surely the CRB clearance should be valid for a fixed time or there shouldn’t be a need to repeat them so often. Even more absurd is the fact that a nurse or employee needs to have another additional (same kind of) CRB check, if she wants to do the same job in the same NHS trust as a bank nurse in addition to being a regular nurse even if she has already had one 15 days ago! Every CRB costs around £50 I am told. You could save a few million pounds if the rules are more sensible.

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