Bank of England operational reforms earn NAO praise

28 Jun 17

A programme to streamline the Bank of England is on course to be completed £25m under budget but shortcomings have arisen, the National Audit Office has found.

The NAO has reviewed the three-year One Mission, One Bank strategic plan, which the bank launched in March 2014.

Implementation was initially expected to cost £120m but the most recent projections place the cost up to the end of February 2019 at £94.9m. As of  February 2017 it has cost the bank £79m.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “Clear responsibility for delivering the strategy and consistent leadership has enabled the bank to make progress towards building ‘One Bank’, delivering many of its specified actions, most notably in relation to the organisation and reward of its staff.”

Morse said the bank still had to work on “more challenging elements” such as introducing cultural change, while delivering significant data will allow the organisation to achieve greater value for money.

The One Bank scheme aimed to bring together various parts of the expanded bank into a more unified, single institution.

Today’s report hailed the strategy for being “well thought through” and well executed.

However, it highlighted that reforms to the bank’s IT systems had suffered delays.

The review states: “The bank committed to build new IT systems, over a four-year period, to allow for better use of its numerous data sets which turned out to be much more complex than expected and final completion is now not due until February 2019.”

It continues: “The bank developed over 100 measures of progress, but could have done more to focus on the outcomes expected, and identify which measures were key.” 

The auditors also called on the bank to do more to meet its targets on black, Asian and minority ethnic staff employed in senior grades, stating “The bank needs to make further progress if it is to match, for example, diversity levels in the civil service”.

Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, said: "I welcome the NAO’s timely and thorough review. This challenging exercise has helped the bank to draw the most important lessons from our One Bank strategic plan and to focus our priorities in

our new Vision 2020 strategic plan.”

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