Central government efficiency


We want to make public services simpler, clearer and faster for users and make government services more efficient.

By doing this we will reduce waste, save money and improve government services to make them more effective for those who need them.


We are:


Government digital strategy

We published the ‘Government digital strategy’ in November 2012, and each department published its own digital strategy in December 2012.

Public bodies

The 2010 review of public bodies looked at over 900 bodies, covering NDPBs and some Non-Ministerial Departments and Public Corporations. Public bodies were evaluated against 3 tests:

  • does it perform a technical function?
  • do its activities require political impartiality?
  • does it need to act independently to establish facts?

The Minister for the Cabinet Office announced the outcome of the review in October 2010. Altogether around 500 of the bodies reviewed in 2010 are being reformed in some way.


The Mutuals Taskforce, chaired by Professor Julian Le Grand, launched its report ‘Public Service Mutuals – the Next Steps’ in June 2012. It set out the case for mutuals, the significant progress achieved and recommendations for the development of mutuals. It highlighted that since 2010 the number of public service mutuals has increased from 9 to at least 58 with about a further 40 projects planned for the future.

Shared services

The Cabinet Office published ‘Shared services – a strategic vision’ in 2011. It explained government’s intention to bring together back office transactional services in Human Resources (HR), Payroll, and Finance and Procurement across central government and its arms-length bodies as a whole.

The Public Expenditure sub-committee (Efficiency and Reform) agreed on the strategy for the next generation shared services programme in February 2012, which was then set out in the ‘Civil service reform plan’.

Bills and legislation

The Public Bodies Act 2011 allows ministers, by order, to abolish or make certain changes to the public bodies listed in the various schedules to the legislation, subject to consultation and Parliamentary approval.

Who we’re working with

The Cabinet Office works with the 17 central government departments and their partner organisations in order to achieve improvements in customer and cost-effective services.

We created the ICiPS to ‘enable the public sector to be self-sufficient in the implementation of continuous improvement, reducing the spend on external consultants, creating better value for the public purse and giving greater employee satisfaction.’

This partnership will help coordinate continuous improvement across the public sector, building on the governance and networks already established. The Institute will provide peer-to-peer support through its network events, recognised standards and CPD for Continuous Improvement Practitioners, and provide a place to collate best practice.

The ICiPS is a not-for-profit organisation moving towards charity status and is independent from government.