Government shaves £1.7bn off tech bill

By Doug Woodburn

Originally posted on CRN:

Savings drive on everything from expensive consultants to print cartridges yields further savings in 2014-15, according to government press release


The government claims it saved the taxpayer £1.7bn on digital and technology-related activities last year as part of its wider cost-cutting drive.

According to figures published yesterday, total efficiency savings of £18.6bn were achieved across Whitehall in the year to 31 March 2015, against a 2009-10 baseline. Some £1.7bn of this supposedly came from digital and technology-related activities.

The £18.6bn figure, which includes not only efficiency and reform savings, but also savings from tackling fraud, error and uncollected debt, is a 30 per cent rise on the 2013-14 figure of £14.3bn.

“The government is determined to make every taxpayer penny count. For example, the Cabinet Office is working to help departments reduce reliance on everything from expensive consultants to print cartridges,” read the joint press release from the Cabinet Office, Efficiency and Reform Group and HM Treasury.

Inefficiency in IT procurement has been a particular bugbear of the government, with Conservative minister Francis Maude revealing in 2013 one IT supplier charged the Cabinet Office £57 for a cable worth £8 wholesale.

Some £6.1bn of the £18.6bn figure came through so-called commercial savings, ie improving how the government buys goods and services. As an example, the government said the DVLA saved more than £30m this year by finding savings in its IT contract.

Another £1.5bn was saved by “transforming how government works”, an area which includes preventing “wasteful IT spend” and things such as managing government property and putting services online.

Some £4.6bn came from reducing costs on major projects, while £5.8bn came from cutting the size of the civil service and reforming civil service pensions, the government said. Tackling fraud, error and debt provided a further £670m of savings, it added.

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