Marginal improvements in productivity among public sector workers could deliver savings of £72m, according to a new report out today from Deloitte and the think tank Reform.
The report finds that by freeing up just one hour of public sector workers’ time over the course of an entire year, the Treasury could gain £57.7m in public spending savings in England, £7.2m in Scotland, £4.3m Wales and £2.9m in Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the report, Mike Turley, UK and global public sector leader at Deloitte, said: “Productivity is a challenge for the whole economy but little attention is given to its role in mending the public finances.”
“Public sector staff work hard, but helping them work smarter could see considerable savings,” he added. “Embracing technology, avoiding repetition of efforts and making evidence-based reforms can all help ensure staff time is spent as productively as possible delivering front-line services.”
The report also considers public debt, finding that government debt currently amounts to £23,428 for each UK resident. The researchers said that if debt interest keeps rising at its current rate, the government will be spending more on servicing debt than on public services by 2034.
Chancellor George Osborne presented the government’s new productivity plan in July. He is set to deliver a comprehensive spending review next month, laying out the government’s spending plans for the next five years, next month.