OGC moves over to Cabinet Office
15 June 2010
The new Efficiency Reform Group in the Cabinet Office has been granted control of the Office of Government Commerce and Buying Solutions, the two major purchasing organisations in government.
The move was designed to bring together all the cross-government operational functions, including procurement, IT, project management and civil service workforce reform functions.
Three new high-level appointments have also been made to bolster the group's authority. They are Sir Peter Gershon, who published the famous Gershon Efficiency Review in July 2004; Dr Martin Read, who led the IT and back-office functions aspect of the Operational Efficiency Programme, published in April 2009; and Lucy Neville-Rolfe, executive director of Tesco and formerly a senior civil servant.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who is chairman of the group, said: "We want a slim but strong centre that can drive down the cost of government, so protecting as best we can the crucial front line services on which our citizens depend.
"The changes I am announcing today will bring together our operational capability to form a single, strong but streamlined group to drive efficiency across government. By taking this really tough stance on inefficiency and waste, we can tackle Britain's massive budget deficit and bring order back to the country's finances, whilst protecting vital frontline services."
Sir Peter, who will look at procurement issues, said: "Whilst tackling the budget deficit is a challenge, I am convinced that by bringing experts together and harnessing the talents of the public sector we can start to make improvements immediately. We will need to be creative and innovative in order to make a real difference and look at new ways of working."
And Read added: "The long term health of the UK economy is critically dependent on securing value for money across the public sector. The Efficiency and Reform Group has a crucial role to play in ensuring that cost reduction becomes a fundamental management objective in the public sector and I look forward to supporting this initiative."