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Departmental Savings

Volume 174: debated on Tuesday 12 June 1990

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

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: The Department of Social Security uses a number of mechanisms to assist in the identification of value-for-money savings. These include a management services operation, internal audit and a directorate of purchasing and supply. The Department undertakes a number of efficiency scrutinies of discrete parts of its operations each year and also has an active staff suggestions scheme. Monitoring of progress in securing the identified savings is undertaken by a central unit.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security 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.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: The savings resulting from specific value-for-money activities are estimated to total £181 million over the period for the Departments of Health and of Social Security, but it is not possible to apportion identified savings between them. In addition, all managers are required to make a contribution to the Department's efficiency saving target of a minimum of 1·5 per cent. per annum from running costs as set by Her Majesty's Treasury and to contribute to other departmental value-for-money initiatives. As not all the results of other value-for-money activities are collected centrally this savings figure represents only a proportion of the total value-for-money savings achieved.