Examination of Witnesses (Questions 260
WEDNESDAY 23 JANUARY 2002
260. Let me understand this: if the OGC one
billion pound value-for-money target is across all central civil
government activities by 2002/3, you do not have a specific target
(Mr Holt) No.
261. Really? So what would, in policy terms,
your assessment be of a pretty good performance to contribute
to that global one billion value-for-money target? What kind of
figure are you looking at departmentally?
(Mr Holt) Around three per cent but I expect it to
fluctuate from year to year because we are a small department,
and some years we will have one major transaction.
262. Where does the three per cent come from?
(Mr Holt) This is an expectation. This is the first
year we have measured it in this way so I have not been able to
assess exactly how to pitch it.
263. I am just trying to understand this. If
the OGC hand down from on high, as it were, a one billion pound
value-for-money target, what I do not understand is how you, as
departmental policymakers, decide what your contribution to that
is going to be. It could be you decide that you cannot really
make many value-for-money savings and, if every department does
that, what leverage has the OGC on any department who performs
poorly and does not make any contribution at all, or a negligible
(Mr Douglas) The main leverage they would have with
us is in looking with us at the procurement procedures. Rather
than looking at the figure itself, what they would say is, "If
you were doing this, you would be saving this amount of money",
and we as managers should act on that. That is where it comes
from. It is people identifying things we can do rather than focusing
too much on saying, "This should be your target figure".
264. So you do not have a specific target from
the OGC or, to put it this way, not so much a target but have
you had any indicative figures where OGC have said, "We think
your value-for-money improvements should be to the value of X
(Mr Holt) No. This is the first year of this exercise
265. I understand that but I am just trying
to work out what you are working to. You are telling us that for
your own benefit you are just saying 3 per cent but that is something
you have made up, as it were. It is your discretion to decide
what you want to do and it is 3 per cent rather than 5 or 2 per
(Mr Holt) Yes. Obviously one would look forward to
the sort of procurements we are in and the sort of advice we are
given to see how one might reach that target in the future.
Chairman: We will leave it there; thank
you very much. You have promised us a note on a few points today
so we will hear from you. Thank you very much.