The Efficient Government Initiative: a progress report

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1. The Scottish Executive’s (the Executive) Efficient Government Initiative, launched in June 2004, is a central part of a programme of investment, reform and modernisation of the public sector. It comprises a five-year programme to attack waste, bureaucracy and duplication with the intention that any savings achieved will be reinvested in improving public services.
2. The objective is to deliver the same services with less money (cash-releasing efficiency gains) or to enable public services to deliver more or better services with the same money (time-releasing efficiency gains). The Executive’s Efficient Government Plan, published in November 2004, outlined its belief that up to £900 million of recurring cash-releasing efficiency gains and £600 million of recurring time-releasing gains were achievable across the full range of public services covered by devolved government. It has developed a series of efficiency projects which are intended to achieve recurring efficiency gains of £1,271 million by 2007/08. The Executive is working with all parts of the public sector to identify further projects and expects to publish details of them before the end of 2006.
3. The Efficient Government Initiative is an ongoing process and the Executive recognises that further work is necessary to demonstrate how gains have been achieved and to confirm that these have not reduced service quality. This report reviews progress with the implementation of the Efficient Government Initiative and the extent to which reported efficiency gains are based on robust processes and information. It does not provide an independent assessment of the accuracy of the level of efficiency gains reported to date.

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