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Public-sector bodies team up to save taxpayer “billions”

15 December 2009

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Organisations in the public sector have saved £1.4bn of taxpayer’s money by joining forces to buy in products and services and “auctioning” contracts online, according to the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

The OGC’s annual report outlined the measures that public bodies had employed over the past 12 months to shave vital pounds off running costs such as utilities, IT and travel expenses.

The report showed that £50m, 31%, was saved from the IT bill for 600 public sector organisations, while the Environment Agency cut 20% in a month off its travel expenses simply by switching to a rail travel booking system that searched for the best value fares.

Good housekeeping measures such as using computers that automatically switch off overnight have also contributed to the massive public sector saving drive.

OGC chief executive Nigel Smith said: “Getting maximum value from government spend has never been more important than now, and the OGC is helping the public sector deliver this.

“The momentum we have seen over the past year must be maintained if we are to deliver the savings potentials that have been identified through the Operational Efficiency Programme.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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“There are few opportunities for frontline NHS staff to earn comparable salaries with the private sector, they do not have the security of a ‘job for life’ as often quoted and they generally work over and above the hours for which they are paid. The pension, to which they substantially contribute, is the one benefit that means that they can have some recompense for the financial disadvantages over a lifetime of work. Those in the private sector who would complain might try working in the public sector for a few years” – Name and address withheld