Public sector HR under threat as government unveils plans to save £30bn by 2011

The government has announced plans to save £30bn across the public sector over the next three years, including big savings in HR.

The Operational Efficiency Programme plans to build on the billions of pounds worth of savings made by the controversial Gershon Review, which has led to thousands of job losses across government departments.

Five work strands, including one that focuses on back office and IT, will be established. The programme will deliver its recommendations for savings by next year’s Budget. The project will be led by Martin Read, the former chief executive of outsourcing provider Logica.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper said: “The Gershon Review saved the government £23bn and we are on course for £30bn more savings over the next three years. But we need to go further the taxpayer has a right to expect value for money, and that means the public sector has a duty to seek ever greater efficiencies too.”

Cooper said the Ministry of Defence had saved £45m a year by rolling out a single personnel management system for all three armed services. Savings across the public sector of between 10%-50% were possible as an estimated £7bn is spent on finance and human resources functions alone.

The programme was unveiled as the Conservatives accused the government of dishing out bonuses totalling £128m to civil servants last year, despite a series of high-profile failings.

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