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Whitehall savings 'need to be sustainable'

19 April 2013

The Cabinet Office's Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) has been urged to make sure it delivers long-term savings for central government.

In a new report, the National Audit Office (NAO) verified the £5.5 billion in savings attributed to the ERG for 2011-12, but warned that "there has not been enough focus so far on the sustainability of savings".

The NAO said the emphasis has been placed on achieving the savings themselves, rather than the long-term changes and efficiency improvements that are necessary to make them sustainable.

However, head of the NAO Amyas Morse did commend the ERG for improving its organisational structure in 2012 and praised the leadership of Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

"The ERG has assessed the obstacles it faces and has begun to tackle them energetically," he said.

"However, it needs to get going on moving beyond the role of imposing central spending controls to placing more emphasis on changes aimed at promoting sustainable savings."

The ERG is aiming to achieve total savings of £20 billion a year by 2014-15.

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Categories: Central Government

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