News story

Chief Operating Officer appointed to the Efficiency and Reform Group

Ian Watmore, the former Chief Executive of the Football Association and a former Permanent Secretary, is to become the new Chief Operating Officer at the head of the Efficiency and Reform Group.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

As Chief Operating Officer, Ian Watmore will work closely with the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, to make sure there is a coordinated approach to tackling waste and improving accountability across all government departments. This will include exploiting economies of scale and reducing duplication, as well as looking for efficiencies in procurement, project management, property, HR and ICT.

The Efficiency and Reform Group, which is based in the Cabinet Office, is responsible for helping departments across the whole of Whitehall meet their commitments to save £6.2bn in this financial year.

Sir Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, said:

It is more important than ever that across the Civil Service all of us rise to the challenge of doing more with less and keep looking for innovative new ways of working which will help us tackle the budget deficit while protecting important public services.

I am delighted that at this important time Ian Watmore has agreed to come back to the Civil Service to take on this challenging role. He will bring with him invaluable expertise from the business world, as well as significant experience of senior roles in government, both of which will be essential in driving forward tough efficiency measures across Whitehall.

Francis Maude, who co-chairs the board which oversees the Efficiency and Reform Group, said:

It is essential that we move forward as quickly as possible with driving down the cost of government so we can protect the vital public services which the people of this country rely on.

The Efficiency and Reform Group, right at the heart of government, has a crucial role in making sure this starts to happen straight away. I believe that Ian Watmore has the right combination of high-level commercial experience both in commerce and Whitehall to get going straight away on work to deliver a whole raft of savings I know we can achieve across government.

Ian Watmore said:

I am delighted to be coming back to the Civil Service at this critical time to take up this opportunity. I believe that the Efficiency and Reform Group has a key role to play in securing value for money. By looking at innovative new ways of working we can make government more efficient and effective, as well as improving the delivery of public services.

Notes to Editors

1. Ian Watmore will start immediately but will formally take up the post on 1 September after he has cleared his current commitments. Between now and then he will spend time with Ministers and key leaders of the Efficiency and Reform Group in order to maintain momentum on this important agenda.
2. Ian Watmore will be paid £142,500.
3. The Government has committed to make immediate savings of £6.2 billion. For further details on the Government’s efficiency and reform drive please see
4. The Efficiency and Reform Board is chaired jointly by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Minister for the Cabinet Office. For further details please see
5. Ian Watmore began his career in Andersen Consulting (later Accenture) in 1980. In IT and management consultancy, Ian worked on many of their largest business transformation client engagements globally, and ultimately chaired their global Diamond Client Forum.  In 2000 Ian was elected as the youngest ever Managing Director of Andersen Consulting UK by the UK leadership team which covered the transition to Accenture.  In 2004 Ian joined the Civil Service. His first role was as Director General and Government Chief Information Officer in the Cabinet Office before moving in 2006 to lead the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit at No 10. In 2007, Ian became Permanent Secretary for the newly created Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills where he helped design and build a new government department whilst delivering major policies for the nation. Ian’s most recent role was as Group Chief Executive of the Football Association group, from which he resigned in March 2010.
6. For a picture of Ian Watmore please visit

Published 30 June 2010