4 November 2010

Whitehall unreformable says Public Accounts Committee

The Commons Public Accounts Committee's review of Labour's 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, which set Whitehall a £35 billion "value-for-money" target to be reached by 2010-11, finds that only £15 billion of reductions have been reported, of which just 38% were "definitely legitimate value-for-money savings".

Thus Whitehall, over three years, has managed just 16.28% of the target it agreed. Which means that Osborne's trumpeted £82 billion in "savage cuts" will actually turn out to be a mere £13.35 in fat reduction. The Committee also warns that the apparat will make it as politically painful as possible by the time-honoured method.
. . . departments will rely solely on cutting front-line services to reduce costs, without adequately exploring the potential to reduce costs through other value-for-money improvements.
In other words, there is a complete divorce between the interests of Whitehall and the requirements of good governance as defined by successive democratically-elected governments. Is anyone surprised?

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