Martin Read seeks government IT savings

Former Logica chairman Martin Read is to head the government's latest effort to streamline its information technology.

Former Logica chairman Martin Read is to head the government's latest effort to streamline its information technology.

The Operational Efficiency Programme aims to improve efficiency in back-office operations.

Announcing this follow-up to the Gershon initiative, chief secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper said the Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP) would save taxpayers billions.

"The Gershon Review saved the government £23bn and we are on course for £30bn more savings over the next three years. But we need to go further. The taxpayer has a right to expect value for money, and that means the public sector has a duty to seek ever greater efficiencies too," he said.

The government said the Ministry of Defence was saving £45 million a year by using a single personnel management system for all three armed services. The government aims to match private sector savings of 10-50% in such areas as its estimated £7 billon spend on public sector finance and human resources, and to get better value out of large IT projects.

However, the Public Accounts Committee has expressed scepticism over government claims on savings. In a different report on "improving corporate functions using shared services", it noted that government departments often failed to establish a reliable cost base for their claims, and sometimes claimed deferred or cancelled expenditure as savings.

IT operations is one strand of the OEP. Others are procurement, asset management and sales, property, and local incentives and empowerment.

Martin Read's biography

Martin Read is a non-executive director of British Airways and a senior adviser to private equity investor Candover Partners. He was chief executive of IT services company Logica from 1993 to 2007 and was a non-executive director of pharmacy firm Boots and supermarket Asda.

He said, "I am pleased to be leading the work on back-office and IT services, which form a vital part of any modern organisation. The private sector has made significant strides forward in this area in recent years and my work will examine the scope for the public sector to benefit from this experience to deliver further efficiencies."

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