Archives: August 2015
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5 August 2015 - 11:44, by , in Blog, Comments off
We can safely add a third factor to Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  That element is “procurement pressure” – the need to squeeze ever more out of public sector budgets that are guaranteed to be slashed year on year for the life of the current government. Austerity doesn’t impact just those in receipts of frontline services but also at the public servants who are charged with delivering the means and the framework in which to provide them. Procurement officers. Colin Cram (public sector consultant specialising in procurement) writing in the Guardian on 2nd July 2015 reckons that the public sector could save billions without cutting frontline services. He outlines several possible approaches and summarises by saying “The potential for public sector efficiencies would appear to be at least £35bn a year, over one third being from unprotected budgets.” That is a lot of money and his guess is as good as anybody else’s. However, looking at it from another angle, if we accept that the total public sector spend, including government, NHS and defence, is somewhere north of £250 billion annually, then £35 billion is 14% give or...
1 August 2015 - 14:59, by , in Blog, Comments off
The May 2015 late spring bank holiday weekend saw anti-austerity protests in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens. One cannot help but suspect that it will be the first of many that we will see up and down the country. The Town Hall is the public face of harsh government-enforced budget cuts and it’s they who must bear the brunt of anger and outrage when services have to cut back as a result. Manchester was particularly hard hit by the Dec 2014 budget cuts, losing 5.1% of its spending power compared with a nationwide average of 1.8%. Councils have no choice but to make do and get on with it. The money must be stretched even further. Every thousand pounds saved goes to prop up the core vital services for the vulnerable, the underprivileged and the genuinely needy – every council’s top priority. One of the emerging paradigm shifts within the public sector in recent years is the trend towards greater collaboration. This can be seen in action in the North West where 10 unitary councils have come together under the banner of AGMA since 2011. The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities is a partnership whereby authorities co-operate to exploit ways of improving...