About the Author

Ken Cole
SPS Consultancy

Ken Cole has worked in senior positions in both the public and private sectors and was one of the founding Directors of SPS in 2001. He recently completed a three year secondment as Director of the London Centre of Excellence. Ken has thrilled many public and private audiences with his incisive analysis, robust delivery and his belief in 'telling it as it is'. His blog is a regular commentary of the improvement and efficiency agenda.

Make sure you pay a frequent visit to find out Ken's latest thoughts on the workings of government, the latest policy initiatives and much more...

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Starting the Savings Debate

Jul 31, 2009

It was good to attend the launch of the new Demos booklet ‘Getting more for less – efficiency in the public sector’ yesterday, a copy of which can be downloaded here.

Researched and written by Jamie Bartlett, it looks in broad terms at different approaches to making public services more efficient, right down to their underlying design. The discussion afterwards was even more encouraging. Not only was the debate intellectually stimulating as one would expect at a Demos event, but also there is a growing realisation that the UK public finances are rapidly becoming untenable unless taxes go up or massive savings made.

Going round the country, I still find it depressing just how many procurement colleagues have not cottoned onto the scale of the likely savings required, particularly if say health and education are ring fenced. Procurement is seen by chief officers and politicians as being a primary route for accruing a significant percentage of the total.

Activity seems to be focussed on creating more framework contracts, which rarely save any hard money, or trying to make the public sector procurement landscape look joined up. The debate on the contribution to the massive savings targets is yet to take place. As I said last year, we must start that debate and plan now or risk becoming the saving.


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