Ian Watmore, the former chief executive of the Football Association (FA) and a former head of IT in the Civil Service, is to head up the cross-departmental group that has been tasked with creating a single HR strategy across Whitehall.
As chief operating officer of The Efficiency and Reform Group, Watmore will be tasked with helping departments meet their commitments to save £6.2bn in this financial year.
Watmore, who will be paid £142,500, will work with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and the chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, to tackle waste and improve accountability across all government departments.
This will include exploiting economies of scale and reducing duplication, as well as looking for efficiencies in procurement, project management, property and IT as well as HR.
The Efficiency and Reform Group will attempt to centralise HR so there is one HR policy across the whole of the Civil Service, with each department running the same policy. The new programme will cover HR processes, expert functions, and policy development and delivery.
Cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell said: “It is more important than ever that across the Civil Service all of us rise to the challenge of doing more with less, and keep looking for innovative new ways of working which will help us tackle the budget deficit while protecting important public services.
“I am delighted that at this important time Ian Watmore has agreed to come back to the Civil Service to take on this challenging role. He will bring with him invaluable expertise from the business world, as well as significant experience of senior roles in government, both of which will be essential in driving forward tough efficiency measures across Whitehall.”
Watmore – who quit as the chief executive of the FA in March after less than 10 months – formally starts on 1 September, but will spend time with ministers and leaders of the Efficiency and Reform Group beforehand.
“I am delighted to be coming back to the Civil Service at this critical time to take up this opportunity,” he said. “I believe that the Efficiency and Reform Group has a key role to play in securing value for money. By looking at innovative new ways of working we can make government more efficient and effective, as well as improving the delivery of public services.”