DCLG "walk the walk" cutting government bureaucracy

July 13, 2012 10:27 AM

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has cut staff numbers by 28 per cent over the past year alone, according to their Annual Report and Accounts 2011-12. Headcount at the end of March 2012 was 3,597, down 1,419 from the 5,016 in 2011. This solid performance in bringing government spending back down to what we can afford to pay in taxes mirrors DCLG’s success at meeting the Government’s ‘one in, one out’ rule on regulations, in stark contrast to the picture emerging from the rest of the Government, as uncovered by John Redwood MP. While job losses are always regrettable for employees who are being let go, on balance this is welcome news. It is particularly important, as taxpayers across the country are having to cut back and make savings to live within their means, that the Government should be doing the same.

Eric Pickles’ department has also reduced its number of quangos from 26 to 11 with plans to axe a further two by 2014-15. Bodies such as the Tenant Services Authority, the Standards Board for England and the Infrastructure Planning Commission have been abolished and their functions transferred or merged with other organisations, generating an estimated saving of £230 million by 2014-15.

The Department’s administration budget is set to reduce by one third over the spending review period, while the abolition of the Government Offices of the Regions will save £190 million over 4 years. Spending on consultancy and agency staff has been cut while expenditure on Government Procurement Cards has been reduced by 64%.

Last September the Code of Recommended Practice for Local Authorities on Data Transparency was published following a consultation. The Code represents great progress in encouraging councils to be more accountable and more transparent and hopefully will lead to taxpayers knowing more about how their money is spent.

The Department for Communities and Local Government deserves praise for walking the walk on its work to cut the size of the Government back down to something closer to what taxpayers can afford. It’s time for Mr Pickle’s Cabinet colleagues to do more than talk the austerity talk. They should pay closer attention to his department and copy its success.The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has cut staff numbers by 28 per cent over the past year alone, according to their Annual Report and Accounts 2011-12. Headcount at the end of March 2012 was 3,597, down 1,419 from the 5,016 in 2011. This solid performance in bringing government spending back down to what we can afford to pay in taxes mirrors DCLG’s success at meeting the Government’s ‘one in, one out’ rule on regulations, in stark contrast to the picture emerging from the rest of the Government, as uncovered by John Redwood MP. While job losses are always regrettable for employees who are being let go, on balance this is welcome news. It is particularly important, as taxpayers across the country are having to cut back and make savings to live within their means, that the Government should be doing the same.

Eric Pickles’ department has also reduced its number of quangos from 26 to 11 with plans to axe a further two by 2014-15. Bodies such as the Tenant Services Authority, the Standards Board for England and the Infrastructure Planning Commission have been abolished and their functions transferred or merged with other organisations, generating an estimated saving of £230 million by 2014-15.

The Department’s administration budget is set to reduce by one third over the spending review period, while the abolition of the Government Offices of the Regions will save £190 million over 4 years. Spending on consultancy and agency staff has been cut while expenditure on Government Procurement Cards has been reduced by 64%.

Last September the Code of Recommended Practice for Local Authorities on Data Transparency was published following a consultation. The Code represents great progress in encouraging councils to be more accountable and more transparent and hopefully will lead to taxpayers knowing more about how their money is spent.

The Department for Communities and Local Government deserves praise for walking the walk on its work to cut the size of the Government back down to something closer to what taxpayers can afford. It’s time for Mr Pickle’s Cabinet colleagues to do more than talk the austerity talk. They should pay closer attention to his department and copy its success.

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