By Vivienne Russell
1 July 2010
Ian Watmore has returned to Whitehall as chief operating
officer at the new cross-departmental Efficiency and Reform Group. The former
permanent secretary at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
left government in 2009 to become chief executive of the Football Association.
He resigned from that job in March this year.
Watmore joined the civil service in 2004 following a career
in consulting. He became director general and government chief information officer
at the Cabinet Office in 2006 and then head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery
Unit before joining DBIS in 2007.
As chief operating officer, Watmore will work closely with
Cabinet Office Minister France Maude and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny
Alexander to make sure there is a co-ordinated approach to reducing waste and
duplication across government. The Efficiency and Reform Group is charged with
helping Whitehall departments meet their commitments to save £6.2bn in this
Watmore said: ‘I am delighted to be coming back to the civil
service at this critical time to take up this opportunity. 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.’
Maude, who co-chairs the board that oversees the Efficiency
and Reform Group’s work, said: ‘The Efficiency and Reform Group, right at the
heart of government, has a crucial role in making sure this starts to happen
straight away. I believe that Ian Watmore has the right combination of
high-level commercial experience both in commerce and Whitehall to get going
straightaway on work to deliver a whole raft of savings I know we can achieve
The Cabinet Office has also announced that former BP boss
Lord Browne is to become the government’s lead non-executive director.
Browne will work with Maude overhauling the way Whitehall
departments are run and improving governance. He will also work with
secretaries of state in appointing non-executive directors to departmental
Browne said: ‘This is a role within government but also
independent of it. Its purpose is to assist in the delivery of policy using
relevant experience from business. There is a great need for the best of the
business community to be involved during these challenging times for the UK.’