» Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The Prime Minister s Spokesman (PMS) began by telling the assembled journalists what had been discussed at Cabinet. There was an update from Ed Balls and the Children s Minister Beverley Hughes on where we were on child protection issues in light of the Baby P case.

There had been a brief update from the Northern Ireland Secretary on the situation in Northern Ireland and in particular the latest state of play on where we were on devolution of police and criminal justice, the final stage of devolution in Northern Ireland.

Most of Cabinet was spent discussing the Government s efficiency and value for money in public spending programmes. This was on the basis of a lengthy presentation from the Chief Secretary. She reminded Cabinet that in relation to the original Gershon Spending Review 2004, we had delivered 26.5billion of efficiency savings against the initial target of 21.5billion. The civil service workforce had been reduced by 86,700 against a target of 70,600 and civil service numbers were now at their lowest level since 1945.

For this spending review period, the Chancellor had announced in the PBR last year that we would be setting a target of 30billion. The Chief Secretary again reminded Cabinet that in the Budget we had said that there might be scope to go beyond that and that was why we had launched a further efficiency round and that really formed the basis of the discussion at Cabinet this morning. The detail of that was set out in a press notice that the Chief Secretary issued on the 3rd July 2008.

There was quite a lengthy discussion about how we could go beyond the 30billion target that was announced in the PBR. This centred on five main areas.

There was a review of back-office and IT which, as we had announced in July, was being led by Martin Reid, the former Chief Executive of Logica; there was a review of collaborative procurement, which was being led by Martin Jay, the chair of Invensys; there was a review of asset management and asset sales, which was being led by Gerry Grimstone, the chair of Standard Life and there was a review of the Government s property portfolio, which was led by Lord Carter of Coles.

We were also looking at what more we could do to raise efficiency by improving local incentives and local empowerment.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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