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Government efficiency must focus on value not cost, says REC

Sir Philip Green review Government efficiency must focus on value not cost, says REC

The high-profile review by Sir Phillip Green on Government efficiency has been published. The REC has responded by underlining the particular nature of recruitment services and the need to balance cost-control priorities with quality of service. This has been the central theme of the RECs Public Sector Resourcing Campaign launched earlier this year.

Recommendations in the report include developing a more centralised approach to buying goods and services, harnessing buying power and enhancing consistency. The review argues that Government should be as efficient as any good business with Sir Philip Green concluding that credit rating and scale in virtually every department has not been used to make Government spending efficient.

Whilst recognising the need to make government operate more efficiently, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, also made it clear that the over-riding aim is to protect the quality of front line services.

Picking up on this need for balance and on Sir Philips findings, Tom Hadley, the RECs Director of Policy and Professional Services, said:

The need for efficiencies and streamlined procedures are well understood. However, it is crucial to recognise that economies of scale cannot be applied indiscriminately to areas such as recruitment services. For example, every temporary or contract worker has to go through the same level of checks and significant effort goes into sourcing each individual candidates.

Our campaign has highlighted the need to avoid knee-jerk cuts to staffing levels and agency budgets and it is reassuring to see the Cabinet Office recognise the need to monitor potential impact on front line services. Procurement departments must deliver sustainable and cost-effective resourcing models that enable front line services to be maintained. Being able to call upon suitably skilled and vetted staff- when there is a need - can be a great driver of efficiency. Flexible staffing arrangements are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Sir Philip Green was appointed by the Prime Minister on August 13 to review Government efficiency. His focus was the procurement of goods and services like IT, travel, print and office supplies, and the management of the Government's property portfolio. Full details of the review are published on the Cabinet Office website.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, have overseen the work of this review which was supported by a small team of Civil Service officials and a team from Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group.


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