PC&PEAnd the really big cuts are yet to come!!! - The Public Accounts Committee has published a report, which examines recent progress made with cost reduction by central government departments and planning for the current spending review period from 2010 to 2015.

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said: “ …… Departments need to do better at planning their finances logically, understanding the relationship between costs & outcomes better and not going for the easy option which could most damage frontline services.  What is needed is an overarching strategic framework which, among other things, identifies in particular: the impact of a cut in one department on expenditure in another, and the long-term impact on value for money and expenditure of short term decisions to live within budgets”.
Press release & links ~ NAO: Managing early departures in central government ~ NAO: Cost reduction in central government: summary of progress ~ NAO: Reports on financial management in central departments ~ NAO: Delivering regulatory reform ~ NAO: Information & Communications Technology in government - Landscape Review ~ CBI comment ~ ScotGov: NHS Scotland Efficiency and Productivity Framework ~ HMT:   Making savings in operational PFI contracts – DRAFT ~ PAC: Progress with VFM savings and lessons for cost reduction programmes ~ NAO: Progress with VFM savings and lessons for cost reduction programmes ~ UK cost-cutting review shrinks military capacity ~ ScotGov: Information about the Independent Budget Review ~ PASC: Challenges of ‘intelligent’ procurement ~ NAO: Managing staff costs in central government ~ HMT: Infrastructure costs review ~ Government anticipates £5 billion in cash savings this year ~ Report: The Efficiency and Reform Group's role in improving public sector value for money ~ Beta of government single domain released

NAOThere will be no savings if major project costs over-run - Last week the National Audit Office published its report on assurance for major government projects, such as the introduction of large IT systems, the construction of ships & helicopters and major changes to how services are delivered.  

The report supports the changes that government has made to the central assurance system for such projects - in particular, the launch of the Major Projects Authority – and finds that they have resulted in some significant impacts.

According to the report, there are 205 projects in the Government Major Project Portfolio, with a combined whole-life cost of £376bn and annual cost of £14.6bn.  39 of those projects have a delivery confidence rating of 'red' or 'amber/red'.|

However, the system is not yet ‘built to last’.  Processes need to be formalised, and the Authority, HM Treasury and departments need to co-operate more if these improvements are to continue.  Transparent reporting of project data would also create a more effective & enduring system.
Press release ~ NAO: Assurance for major projects ~ NAO:  Assurance for high risk projects ~ NAO Guide: Initiating successful projects ~ Major Projects Authority ~ NAO: Lack of Commercial skills for complex government projects ~ PAC: MPs report on the Ministry of Defence: Major Projects Report 2011 ~ NAO: MoD - The Major Projects Report 2011 ~ Defence Secretary confirms first project of concern ~ Looking into the Black Hole: Is the UK Defence Budget Crisis Really Over? ~ Related MoD press release & links ~ The Register:  Projects of Concern ~ Defence project managers' excellence recognised ~ MOD: The use of information to manage the logistics supply chain ~ Strategic financial management of the defence budget ~ Learning Legacy ~ PC&PE:  It is harder to name one government ICT success than 10 expensive failures (3rd item) ~ Report: The failure of the FiReControl Project

FDAUnion launches Professionalism in Public Delivery project - Around 50 delegates attended the launch of the FDA's 2-year Professionalism in Public Delivery project, which took place in central London on 25 April 2012.

Dave Penman (FDA deputy general secretary) said the new project, which builds on the union's previous skills work, was about helping to deliver "a new way of working for our members".   It was, he added, about "looking to the future, not simply looking to the past".

Rowena Fletcher (Civil Service Learning's head of professions & skills development) told delegates that Civil Service Learning (CSL), set up in 2011 to deliver centrally all generic learning and development for civil servants, would provide "a better fit between our strategic priorities and the learning available to people".  It would mean, she said, "a big shift away from departments finding their own solutions".

She went on the say that the challenge now facing CSL was making sure "people know about us" and "building the confidence in our offer".  Those attending were civil servants, union learning reps and project partners - including the Cabinet Office, Union Learn, community group Third Wave, Skills for Justice and Middlesex University.

For more information about the project, please contact Sean Ruddy (Project Co-ordinator - Professionalism & Skills Project) at the FDA:  sean@fda.org.uk - Direct: 020 7401 5598 - Mobile: 0788 646 1093
Press release & links ~ FDA ~ Civil Service Learning ~ Previous PR – Example of why PS Delivery needs to improve ~ Report & related links ~ New Digital Advisory Board supports Government to deliver online services revolution ~ Choosing fewer channels: public service delivery options in an age of austerity ~ Socitm: Planting the Flag - a strategy for ICT-enabled local public services reform ~ Socitm: Councils should be seizing the opportunity for significant and permanent future savings by reorganising the way they manage customer contact ~ WAG: £11m Invest-to-Save funding announced to support more efficient & innovative public services ~ WAG: related Previous PR ~ WAG: Improving public services ~ ScotGov: Ambitious vision for public services unveiled ~ DirectScot ~ Public Service Leadership ~ Power in People’s Hands: Learning from the World’s Best Public Services ~ NAO: Helping Government Learn ~ Engagement and Aspiration: Reconnecting Policy Making with Front-Line Professionals ~ IDeA: Project, programme and change management toolkit ~ Professional Skills for Government (PSG) strategy ~ Whole Systems Go!: Improving leadership across the whole public service system

CQC:  Like the government, the CQC seems to have a touch of omni-shambles - A Care Quality Commission inspector has been dismissed for gross misconduct after an internal investigation revealed that the impartiality of their regulatory judgements had been seriously compromised.  This came to light as a result of whistle-blowing information to the CQC.  No additional detail can be provided as CQC has now referred this matter to the police.
Press release & links ~ CQC:  Care Quality Commission statement on Panorama programme (click on Newsletter Archive and then link to ‘Published 30/04/2012’

MoDRemembering & honouring what the ‘Forgotten Army’ achieved - 18 veterans travelled from across the UK to York recently to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the 1944 Battle of Kohima, in which British & Indian forces helped halt the Japanese invasion of India.  It was later described by Earl Mountbatten as probably ‘one of the greatest battles in history’ and it proved to be the turning point in the Burma campaign.
Press release & links ~ BS: Battle of Kohima ~ 60th Anniversary Briefing ~ YouTube: Battle of Kohima-Imphal, 1944

AUKDon’t fall into the bad habit of not taking at least some gentle daily exercise - Age UK is urging people to ‘boost their bones’ by taking a short walk and getting out in the sunshine for 10 minutes or waking up to a session of light exercise such as Tai Chi for Falls Awareness Week 2012 (18-22 June 2012).  

Falls represent a serious problem for older people; they occur in around 30% of over 65s and 50% of those aged over 80 every year, often resulting in serious consequences, both physically & psychologically.  In addition to bruising, fractures, and in some cases, death, a fall can destroy confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence

The Week will highlight the importance of exercise alongside a balanced diet rich in calcium and getting enough Vitamin D through sunshine to build & maintain healthy bones, helping to prevent falls & fractures as we grow older.
Press release & links ~ DH:  Balancing the cost of preventive action against the need for health costs to fall

Last Call for Free Seminar on Asset Management in the Public Sector - If items are not correctly identified as assets they are, by virtue, deemed as waste. Assets are often classed as waste due to space and time constraints within organisations.

The Disposal Services Authority is the only public sector organisation offering a completely managed service for the re-use, recycling and ultimate disposal of surplus Government and Public Sector assets, whilst ensuring a compliant, secure and audited process.

Key issues addressed at this free event include :
  • Succesfully identifying assets from waste
  • Compliance, Security and CSRA
  • Audit
  • Sustainability through procurement
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