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Tune up for quangos on way from Worcs PDF Print E-mail

A campaign to bring hard-headed business sense to public services – without pain - has been launched by a Worcestershire business leader.

Celia Adams, the county’s chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) believes that her organisation’s experience in the economics of private and public sectors will inform David Cameron’s drive for greater efficiency in quangos and councils.

Now Mrs Adams, a Turnaround director who has revived local companies, is aiming to set up programmes to help councils and quangos to get better value for taxpayers.

It follows an ICAEW study, ‘Public Sector Finances:  Views from the Inside’, which showed savings of up to ten per cent could be made in the public sector – without affecting levels of service.

The vast majority of 131 senior decision makers believed savings could be made, mostly through improved use of IT and technology, and cutting duplication. Four out of five of the leaders surveyed – covering public sector services, from local education to the NHS - agreed.

One insider pointed to unnecessary refurbishment of sheltered homes by one Midlands housing department, in order to spend end-of-year funds, and avoid a reduced allocation next year.

Mrs Adams’ own investigations identified 2m GBP savings that could be achieved at individual quangos, largely by using off-the-shelf accounting software, instead of consultants.  She said:  ‘The imperative to improve financial management can hardly be overstated, with the urgent need to reduce the UK deficit.

‘I was surprised to discover such savings were possible, without reducing levels of service.  But my experience in the public sector confirms that there is a great deal that can be improved, by getting rid of the chaff to concentrate on the wheat.

‘This month’s ICAEW study underlines how  the expertise of finance professionals is needed to get the best value for taxpayers.’