Government efficiency drive cut £137m of digital spend in FY21

Cabinet Office claims creation of Central Digital and Data Office helped deliver nine-figure savings

Credit: Piqsels

The creation of the Central Digital and Data Office helped reduce government’s digital spending by more than £100m in the 2021 financial year, the Cabinet Office has claimed.

Newly released government figures reveal that a cost-cutting drive during the 12-month period to 31 March 2021 delivered a collective total of £3.4bn in savings. 

Among the highlights cited by the central department was a reduction of £137m in the amount spent annually on digital services. According to the Cabinet Office, a notable factor in delivering these savings was the establishment of the CDDO – two months before the end of the year in question – and its subsequent work to “advise departments on best practice for using digital and data services”. 

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Other cost-saving initiatives included the use of “data-matching… [which] helped crack down on fraudulent tax discount claims and identify improper PPE contracts for termination”. This delivered £138m of efficiencies, according to the government, as part of a wider total of £1.8bn in reduced losses to fraud and debt and £1.4bn saved through “improve buying decisions”.

Ministers – including he recently appointed minister for government efficiency, Jacob Rees-Mogg – are now “calling for the civil service to accelerate the efficiency drive” in the year ahead, the government added.

“These figures show quality need not be sacrificed to achieve better value for money, and I want to accelerate the progress made,” Rees-Mogg said. “We are ensuring the civils service is delivering the Government’s top priorities while ensuring the best possible value for taxpayers.”

Chief secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke added: “The £3.4bn saved last year shows that we can get better results from the money we spend. We know we need to go further, the chancellor’s new cabinet level efficiency and value for money committee will leave no stone unturned as we investigate all Government spending to make sure we are getting the most for the taxpayer.”


Sam Trendall

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