23 July 2004
A crack team of experts drawn from Whitehall and beyond is being assembled to push forward the government's efficiency programme.
Office of Government Commerce chief executive John Oughton is to take charge of delivering the £21bn in efficiency savings identified by Sir Peter Gershon.
Reporting directly to the prime minister and the chancellor, Oughton will be supported by a specialist team, which is now being recruited.
Although the team will largely comprise civil servants, about 10% of members will be seconded from the private sector, an OGC spokesman told Public Finance.
'Oughton will be drawing on expertise across government and within the OGC itself. The team will advise and challenge departments on the implementation of their efficiency programmes,' the spokesman added.
The government refused to reveal the identities of anyone involved — but the Treasury's Public Services Productivity Panel is likely to be drawn in. Current panel members include Lynton Barker, head of management consultancy at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Greg Parston, head of the Office for Public Management.
Whitehall departments are working out how they propose to meet their efficiency targets, and are expected to submit reports to Oughton by October. The National Audit Office and Audit Commission will scrutinise the plans to check that measures and methodologies used comply with Gershon's principles.
The Treasury is also to review the financial management of all departments. It will be led by Mary Keegan, who takes over as head of the Government Accountancy Service in September.