Maude’s war on waste

The government’s drive for ‘efficiencies’ looks more like economies to me.  In announcing £5.5 billion of savings (http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/news/francis-maude-reveals-further-savings-beat-expectations), some key examples are listed.  Cuts in consultants, marketing, a freeze on unnecessary recruitment and reductions in property costs are no surprise.  But this doesn’t necessarily represent an increase in efficiency.  The £500 million from bulk purchasing may be more like it.  But this is not radical stuff.  Indeed, it is so Yes Minister it is embarrassing.  And how much of it is the usual Whitehall slieght of hand?  How much is real savings and how much ‘nominal’?

Perhaps the radical changes, the mutuals and staff cooperatives, the Big Society and the promise of new technologies are bubbling up beneath the surface?  Perhaps the transformation of Whitehall is still to come?  But, at the moment, it looks much like the changes in local government.  Stop paying for stuff we can get away without in the short/medium term (consultants, training etc).  Try getting other stuff cheaper (bulk buying, some collaborative purchasing).  Stop recruiting.

Is anyone asking what the consequences of these decisions are?  Does Francis Maude know the impact of cuts?  Or does he believe there are no consequences of the decisions being taken?

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