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Departmental Savings

Volume 173: debated on Tuesday 5 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the value-for-money savings in his Department's operations identified by internal audit and internal efficiency arrangements, and by external audit and by management consultants retained by his Department between 1983–84 and 1988–89; and what is the amount of those savings fulfilled to date.

The Departments for which I am responsible pursue value for money in all their activities.The improvements which result from inquiries and studies of the type mentioned by the hon. Member are taken into account in the setting of annual budgets and internal targets. Consistent figures for savings for the period 1983–84 to 1988–89 are not available as central records are not kept of the many improvements in efficiency which managers identify and implement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what mechanisms exist in his Department for identifying and tracking value-for-money savings in its operations.

Individual units in all the Departments for which I am responsible are required to identify value-for-money savings as part of the management planning process. These plans are brought together each year in a departmental management plan which identifies the tasks facing the departments during the public expenditure survey period and the resources required to carry them out.In addition, the Scottish Office efficiency unit maintains a continuous programme of reviews of individual areas which identifies savings. A recently formed purchasing and supply unit also has value for money as one of its main objectives.In all cases, responsibility for actual delivery of savings identified lies with budget managers who have substantial delegated powers for running costs.