The War on Waste Blog: July and August 2023

The summer months were quiet for some, but not for the TPA’s war on waste campaign. We continued to uncover shocking examples of wasted taxpayers’ cash, right across the public sector.


As holiday-makers were jetting off on their holidays, we revealed in a front-page story that a second prime ministerial plane had been painted with Union Jack colours, costing a whopping £800,000. This meant a total of £1.7 million was spent on jazzing up UK official jets. Flying the flag might be a worthy aim, but did it have to cost that much? You can find out more in the Mirror.


As well as wasted cash, there was wasted time. Time is money after all. And the amount of time wasted by the public sector is nothing short of scandalous. Our investigation into NHS staff networks, found that 26,000 hours of staff time had been taken up by various lectures, seminars, and other events. Right when NHS resources are precious, these often politically-oriented groups are taking up precious time. Find out more about these events in the Daily Mail article here.


Into August we took a look at how the most important government contracts were faring after new data was released. One of the real problems with the growing size of government is that it ends up being a jack of all trades and a master of none. While there are a few things we really want the government to excel at, for example managing a prison service, performance suffers as resources are stretched across more and more functions. And it turns out that the most important government contracts are seeing their key performance indicators beginning to slide as ministers take their eyes off the ball. Our findings were published in The Guardian


Elsewhere we asked all councils whether they pay for the home internet bills of their staff. Although we had heard that some might, it was still shocking to find that £700,000 had been spent since 2019 on these basic household bills. If council staff don’t have internet at home, they should be told to come into the office where a perfectly good computer will be waiting for them. More details here.


And in the most colourful example of waste we uncovered during summer, we revealed that the cost of public sector pride in 2023 was over £500,000! This comprised spending on pride month by police forces, fire and rescue services, NHS Trusts and local councils. Read more in The Telegraph.


Be sure to check out the September edition of this blog, when we will reveal the sunny locations your council staff might have been working from.


If you suspect public bodies of wasting money and want us to investigate, let me know at [email protected]

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