News story

Public Sector Efficiency Challenge launched

Chancellor and Chief Secretary invite the ideas from the public sector on doing more while saving public money ahead of the Spending Review.


Chancellor George Osborne and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands are writing to public sector workers on Monday 3 August, asking for their ideas on how the government can do more for less through the Public Sector Efficiency Challenge.

In a letter to millions of public sector workers, including teachers, nurses and civil servants, as well as British diplomats and service men and women stationed around the globe, the Chancellor and Chief Secretary will invite them to take part in an online survey to share their ideas for doing more while saving public money, ahead of this year’s Spending Review.

This follows a similar exercise in 2010 in which people who were working on the front line were asked to suggest ways to improve the public services they provide, using their expertise and knowledge of how those services are actually delivered.

Examples of ideas from the public sector workforce for doing more with less that were eventually put into practice included:

  • stopping the distribution of National Insurance numbers to people with a plastic card
  • reducing the need for multiple Criminal Records Bureau checks by making greater use of electronic access for employers

Ideas put forward also influenced more radical policy changes, such as spending money more effectively by introducing a more preventative focus across public services and building closer links across health and social care.

The Chancellor is expected to say:

You do an incredible job day in, day out. Your hard work over the last Parliament ensured that while we made big savings across departments, our public services, far from declining, improved.

Satisfaction with the NHS is up, while crime is down and there are now more good or outstanding schools than ever before. It is testament to your dedication, ingenuity and innovation that we have achieved this.

You know better than most where we can take the next steps. You know first-hand where things are working well on the frontline of public services, but also where the waste is and where we can provide better services for less money.‎

You know where we can go further to reform our public services and where we can devolve more power so that local people have more control and local leaders are more accountable.

In the last Parliament, when we asked for your help in a similar way, many of you put forward ideas which saved millions of pounds.

It was thanks to the suggestions of dedicated public sector professionals that we stopped distributing National Insurance numbers with a plastic card, reduced the need for multiple Criminal Records Bureau checks by giving employers greater electronic access to records, and built closer links across health and social care.

So today we are inviting you to share with us your ideas for how to get more for less. ‎If you think there is a better way to do things, we want to know.

Please submit your ideas through our online survey by Friday 4 September. These will be looked at and considered by the Treasury and Cabinet Office, in partnership with government departments.

Thank you in advance for your contribution. Together we will deliver a stronger economy for a country that lives within its means.

Millions of public sector workers have been invited to send in their ideas via a short online survey which closes on 4 September.

All good ideas received by this date will be looked at and considered by the Treasury and Cabinet Office, in partnership with government departments, as part of the Spending Review process.

Although the government will have made savings of nearly £100 billion by 2015/16, more still needs to be done to ensure Britain runs a surplus for the first time in almost twenty years in 2019/20, delivering economic security for working people.

The Spending Review, which will be published on 25 November 2015, will set out how the government will both invest in priority public services and deliver the £20 billion further savings required to eliminate Britain’s deficit by 2019-2020.

This will be the next step in fixing the nation’s finances, following the Summer Budget where the government outlined how it will deliver £12 billion of welfare savings and £5 billion from addressing avoidance, evasion and imbalances in the tax system to deliver half of the savings needed to eliminate the deficit over the next four years.

Published 3 August 2015