By Tony Collins
Paul Pindar, Chief Executive of Capita, makes the valid point that billions of pounds can be cut from the costs of government back offices without the need for “criminal” cuts to frontline services such as police, libraries, youth centres or healthcare.
The Financial Times today quotes Pindar as saying: “When you can see local authorities closing libraries, swimming pools, it’s criminal. It’s a political agenda. Billions of pounds could be saved and the public wouldn’t notice the difference.”
He said Capita, for example, could cut £2.5bn from the costs of police IT and human resources, without putting at risk uniformed jobs.
Pindar sounds as if he’s making a pitch for more government work, which he probably is. But it’s hard to argue with what he says. Except that the savings can be made by SMEs rather than the big suppliers, like Capita, that already dominate government IT spending.
It may cost more for the civil service to handle SME contracts rather manage a single large deal – but the savings may be greater through an imaginative use of IT and changes in working practices.