In advance of the 2015 Spending Review, public sectors workers have an opportunity to tell central government how improved public services can be delivered with less money.
The government wants to know where the waste is and how things can be done better or more efficiently.
We already know that the 2015 Spending Review will mean further budget cuts to public services so now is the right time to consider ways to drive greater efficiency and value for money across the whole public sector. The Chancellor has already indicated the need “to get more for less”.
It is a similar story across the education sector. Although the government has reaffirmed its commitment to protect per-pupil funding, schools are being encouraged to improve productivity and maximise expenditure in order to improve young people’s education. For example, although the evidence shows that many schools are successfully driving down costs, there is significant scope for some to increase efficiency and productivity. Back-office spending is one area where there is room for improvement. Over the past 10 years, back-office spending per pupil in maintained schools increased by around 60% in real terms.
With the pressure on delivering more for less, the way in which we deliver public services across all sectors needs to be more efficient and cost-effective in order to sustain demand. At YPO, we are well placed to provide advice on how to increase efficiencies and drive value for money. It has, after all, been our focus for over 40 years.
As the UK’s largest collaborative procurement group in the public sector, we recognise the significant benefits of collaborative working as a way to reduce duplication and ultimately, maximise efficiencies. The development of a national public sector contractual agreement for the procurement of insurance services is just one example of how collaborative working can deliver considerable savings. Working together with partner procurement organisations we have developed a solution that will deliver an estimated £40m in savings for public authorities throughout its lifetime.
Collaboration is certainly nothing new, but as George Osborne has outlined, more needs to be done to promote greater collaboration in public services.
Sharing back-office services, buying goods and services in a more centralised way and improving supplier management can all deliver substantial savings for the public sector, including local government and schools. Of course, academies can also benefit from this approach, with schools working under the same academies trust working together to share services and ultimately, shared benefits.
YPO continues to collaborate with a broad network of public sector organisations to combine requirements and achieve the best achievable value from the supplier base. This way of working has helped to make considerable savings for our customers and members. I am delighted that we have delivered this and ultimately helped them achieve “more for less”.
There is still time to give views on the Spending Review 2015. The deadline for suggesting new ideas for policies or reforms for inclusion as part of the Review is Friday 4 September.