Institute urges government to heed NAO message on cuts

The National Audit Office has issued a report on cost cutting across Whitehall. It reveals that departments spent 2.3% (or £7.9bn) less in 2010/11 than in the previous year.

But the report goes on to say that departments are “less well-placed to make the long-term changes needed to achieve the further 19 percent over the four years to 2014/15” as set out in the spending review.

Commenting on today’s report the Institute’s Director of Research, Julian McCrae said:
“The underlying weaknesses in areas like financial management identified by the NAO are not new, but the scale of the challenge facing the civil service means there has to be much greater urgency in resolving them. It’s therefore crucial that the Government takes the NAO’s report seriously as a call to further action.”

IfG has been assessing the way departments are implementing the government’s efficiency and reform programme. A recent report revealed that 12 months since the Prime Minister unveiled departmental business plans, all had missed deadlines for their reform plans, with many failing to deliver more than 25% and one department  missing more than half.

The Institute is continuing its research with an analysis of how departments can better utilise the business plans and other management information to support their planning and decision making.