Government reveals costs of dealing with the public and pushes digital
18 January 2013
Detailed data on how much it costs the government to transact with the public has now been released for the first time, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has announced, with inefficient and costly services reinforcing the need to make public services more efficient and digital by default.
The figures revealed that it costs as little as 5p for the government to process stamp duty reserve tax returns, but as much as £727 for the Rural Payments Agency to process a claim through the Single Payment Scheme.
With more than a billion transactions between central government and British citizens taking place every year, ministers hope to shift services online in order to cut costs for the taxpayer.
"Making this data public is an important step for transparency and ensuring government is accountable for the cost and efficiency of the services it provides," said Francis Maude. "The UK government has never done this before and, as far as we know, no other country systematically tells its citizens how much they pay for the services they use – for example, to pay car tax, apply for a passport, or file annual business returns.
"This data sets a baseline for service performance – something the public can, and should, judge our progress on as we move to making all government services 'digital by default'.
"Making government digital is also at the heart of our plans to reform the civil service, helping it to work in new, faster, more efficient ways, be smaller, more open and less bureaucratic."
Mike Bracken, who leads the Government Digital Service – a body in the Cabinet Office which has been driving forward online services and creating the new Gov.uk single web portal – added that greater visibility of service performance was an "essential step towards delivering digital services that are simpler, clearer and faster".