The public sector can expect to save £11bn per year as a result of the government's efficiency savings, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude told delegates at the 2011 Public Sector Efficiency Expo on Wednesday.
Maude highlighted key cost-saving areas such as driving services to a "digital-by-default" model, a freeze on consultation fees, controls on recruitment and IT projects over £1m.
"We expect that by end of month we will have made total cost savings in the region of £3bn. The early savings are encouraging, but are by no means the limit of our ambition," he said.
"This has to be done and we make no excuse for the speed with which we have done this. Whether it's cutting contracts, or driving through digital services. We will only succeed by learning from best ideas people have."
Maude complimented Martha Lane Fox in her work to make public services digital-by-default. "She has done a fantastic job in leadership of getting people online and also getting the government focused on delivering its services digitally. We need to be discontinuing non-online delivery and for those who remain digitally excluded, we need assisted digital delivery. Over time all services where suitable and appropriate will be delivered online," he said.
Also speaking at the event, Martin Read, an efficiency adviser to the government, told delegates that a database of detailed management information was needed across departments to ensure operational efficiencies are met. "If you don't have information, it's difficult to be clear about objectives," he said.
"If the information is not consistent, regular and accurate, you can't look at trends and make comparisons between different departments; or with the private sector or international experience, and you can't hold people to account."
Read said the government was putting in place a system to measure operational efficiency. "As we build up an information base, it will make us more competent in assessing targets," he said.
"We've been talking with 19 suppliers [to renegotiate contracts] and that has been a successful programme, but [is also] a blunt instrument. We want the public sector to be more commercial. As we look ahead the smart thing will be getting relationships with suppliers [right] which means re-thinking the way we do things."