‘Its not all about costs’ was the topic under discussion at the Capita Symonds session on the first day of Civil Service Live at Olympia.
Chaired by political commentator and Senior Fellow, Institute for Government Peter Riddell the session offered both a public and private sector perspective on, as Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell (right) put it in his opening remarks “how we deliver public service with a third less money.”
O’Donnell went on to assert that the efficiency agenda is one that the civil service needs to own and that by managing the efficiency challenge – by avoiding excessive spend on procurement, communications etc – less will need to be cut from resources or front end service.
He also saw the commercial skills of the private sector as vital in helping the public sector, and mutuals, develop their ideas and potentially provide the capital necessary for making them a reality. Summing up, he challenged the private sector on how they can bring their specific skills to the public sector.
Fiona Spencer, Director of Shared Services at the Home Office outlined how shared business services – such as finance, procurement and HR – can cut costs and improve services.
She showed how the Ministry of Justice and Home Office’s shared business centre in Newport, now utilised by over 120,000 public sector staff, is now making savings of £33m pa.
Jonathan Goring, MD Capita Symonds told the audience that the private sector has “massive appetite” for working for the public sector – and for being judged on results rather than being tied into long contracts.