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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 Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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.

In the FCO (diplomatic wing) specific value-for-money targets for the last two financial years have already been notified to Parliament in evidence on the public expenditure White Paper, together with staffing savings produced by the 1988–89 top management round. In addition, internal audits and inspections achieved value-for-money savings in 1988–89 of over £2 million. Total VFM savings have been calculated only from 1989–90 onwards. Figures for earlier years are not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.In the ODA, value-for-money savings in departmental running costs and value-for-money achieved on aid-financed goods and services are set out in the annual public expenditure White Paper. On services, savings achieved were £3·5 million in 1986–87; £5·7 million in 1987–88 and £8·41 million in 1988–89. Figures for earlier years are not readily available.

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

In the diplomatic wing of the FCO, targets for value-for-money savings are set each year by budget-holding departments at home and posts overseas. The ODA also sets such targets. Progress towards meeting targets is reviewed through the year. Inspectors and internal auditors also identify value-for-money savings as well as evaluating the controls established by management to secure VFM. Tables of VFM targets for the last and current financial years have been presented to Parliament in the diplomatic wing and ODA evidence on this year's public expenditure White Paper.