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Government Digital Service Saves £339m Of £3.3bn In 2015/16

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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GDS helped departments reduce costs by implementing spending controls and managing strategic ICT implementation, the government said

The Cabinet Office’s Government Digital Service (GDS) contributed £339 million to an estimated £3.3 billion in savings for the taxpayer in 2015/16, according to new government figures.

Overall, the government said it made £3.3bn in savings through greater efficiency in the procurement of IT as well as other goods and services, along with more efficient management of office space and selling off surplus government property.

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Cost control

Other savings came through reducing fraud, error and uncollected debt in welfare spending, the government said.

GDS’ role is to help government departments work together on IT projects and procurement, according to the Cabinet Office.

In the last financial year the service realised savings by setting standards, providing assurance, controlling costs and managing ICT implementation by departments.

GDS’ spending controls helped the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) save more than £875,000 by helping to deliver results in a more efficient way or reducing spend because user needs had changed, according to the report.

Other savings included £1.2 billion in operational savings from improving government procurement, the provision of specialist expertise in commercial purchasing, negotiations and disputes and reducing the cost of the government’s property estate.

Service transformation

Cross-government reforms aimed at reducing fraud, error and debt resulted in around £805 million in savings, while the sale of surplus property saved £973 million.

The Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) said further savings may require broader efforts, including implementing more efficient digital systems.

“Some of the larger savings that the government is targeting will only be achieved by total service transformation, much of it enabled by digital,” the agency said in a report. “That means making some early investments at the beginning of this parliament to achieve considerable gains at the end.”

Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer said the government had made significant advances in addressing fraud, selling off unneeded property such as the former Civil Service College in Sunningdale, and making better use of digital technologies.

“The government is committed to delivering value for money for taxpayers and the Cabinet Office will continue to drive savings right across departments as set out in the Spending Review in 2015,” he said.

The government’s Efficiency Review plans to issue a report in the autumn in which it is to identify savings that will form part of a total £3.5 billion of reduced costs for the 2019/20 financial year.

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