Cutting spending on bureaucracy at the Department for Education

November 16, 2012 11:34 AM

Education Secretary Michael Gove announced yesterday a pioneering drive to cut spending on bureaucracy after a comprehensive, zero-based review identified potential savings of £290 million. As Peter Hoskin points out on ConservativeHome, the Education Secretary is going further than his cabinet colleagues by aiming to cut departmental spending on administration by 50 per cent by 2016, exceeding the coalition’s target of 33 per cent by 2015.

The headline-grabbing statistic that staff numbers will fall by around a quarter to 3,000 is welcome but the review has proposed a more comprehensive package of cost-cutting measures. The department will also be moving out of its pricey Westminster HQ to cheaper digs while excessive overhead spending on finance, HR and IT will be slashed and six unnecessary regional offices closed. The TaxPayers’ Alliance has long been calling for departments to make savings on office space, identifying a staggering £112 million being wasted in recent research. It’s great to see the pressure we’ve been putting on ministers resulting in real gains for taxpayers.

The report found decision making in the department to be “slow and laborious” highlighting duplication of work, uncertainty among employees of their roles and general overstaffing – themes all too common in our bloated public sector.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance has led the way in campaigning for an end to profligate spending by Whitehall departments and for leaner, more efficient bureaucracy that delivers better value for money. However, while this programme shows there is scope for savings in the education department, they are by no means the worst offenders when it comes to waste. We identified £59 million that could be saved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on office space alone compared to just £2 million at Mr Gove’s department. The initiative shown by the Department for Education is commendable but it will only deliver a very small percentage of the potential savings. Taxpayers deserve value for money from all departments and it’s about time Mr Gove’s colleagues followed his lead.Education Secretary Michael Gove announced yesterday a pioneering drive to cut spending on bureaucracy after a comprehensive, zero-based review identified potential savings of £290 million. As Peter Hoskin points out on ConservativeHome, the Education Secretary is going further than his cabinet colleagues by aiming to cut departmental spending on administration by 50 per cent by 2016, exceeding the coalition’s target of 33 per cent by 2015.

The headline-grabbing statistic that staff numbers will fall by around a quarter to 3,000 is welcome but the review has proposed a more comprehensive package of cost-cutting measures. The department will also be moving out of its pricey Westminster HQ to cheaper digs while excessive overhead spending on finance, HR and IT will be slashed and six unnecessary regional offices closed. The TaxPayers’ Alliance has long been calling for departments to make savings on office space, identifying a staggering £112 million being wasted in recent research. It’s great to see the pressure we’ve been putting on ministers resulting in real gains for taxpayers.

The report found decision making in the department to be “slow and laborious” highlighting duplication of work, uncertainty among employees of their roles and general overstaffing – themes all too common in our bloated public sector.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance has led the way in campaigning for an end to profligate spending by Whitehall departments and for leaner, more efficient bureaucracy that delivers better value for money. However, while this programme shows there is scope for savings in the education department, they are by no means the worst offenders when it comes to waste. We identified £59 million that could be saved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on office space alone compared to just £2 million at Mr Gove’s department. The initiative shown by the Department for Education is commendable but it will only deliver a very small percentage of the potential savings. Taxpayers deserve value for money from all departments and it’s about time Mr Gove’s colleagues followed his lead.

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