The Cabinet Office claims that a "ruthless approach" to "eradicating wasteful spending" across central government has helped generate £104m in savings in IT spending out of more than £5.5bn in total efficiency savings it claims to have achieved last year.
The Government Digital Service has driven significant savings for all government departments in its 2011/12 fiscal year, the Office said. These include maintaining the Businesslink website for a fraction of its previous cost and re-designing the G-Cloud procurement store, while the Office has also sought to make more use of in-house resource rather than relying on expensive systems integrators.
"The staggering savings were driven by the Cabinet Office's Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), which applied spending controls to cut expenditure by departments on IT contracts, property, marketing, temporary staff and consultancy," the Cabinet Office said in a statement. "These new savings are in addition to the unprecedented £3.75bn saved during 2010/11."
The claimed savings in IT spending include a total of £1bn saving as a result of a moratorium on consultancy spending and extending existing consultancy contracts. "Since 2010, consultancy spend has been cut by over 85 per cent," claimed the Cabinet Office.
Other savings have been made as a result of bulk-buying and different government departments pooling their spending power to drive volume discounts. Stronger controls on non-essential recruitment have also cut salary costs.
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said: "In 2010 we set up an Efficiency and Reform Group in the Cabinet Office to beef up government's operational centre and to ensure that Whitehall operated in a more business-like fashion. It's working well, but we are determined to go even further, because when it comes to spending other people's money we must always strive to find more efficient and better ways of providing public services."
He added: "Because our controls on spending are working well and saving unprecedented amounts of money, I'm determined they will be a permanent feature of good governance."