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Richard Harries, Deputy Director, wrote an article for Civil Service World where he argued that “with more cuts to come, Whitehall departments are eyeing productivity gains as a silver bullet.”
“Whitehall has a problem. Departments knew before the general election that they would need to find £13bn savings by 2017-18. Now the chancellor of the exchequer has told them he needs a further £4.5bn in this financial year. With an Emergency Budget just around the corner and a full-blown Spending Review before the end of the year, it would be a brave permanent secretary who thinks that George Osborne will not come back for more.
Luckily, Whitehall also has the perfect defence, a silver bullet in the form of greater productivity. Reducing the cost of public service outcomes offers politicians and policy makers that rarest of treats: the free lunch. Whether it is health, education, care for the elderly or our criminal justice system, the possibility of getting more for less holds the key to living within constrained budgets.”