The findings of a detailed review of the Government’s progress on delivering the efficiencies identified in last year’s Government Plan, and the ‘rebalancing’ measures proposed in this year’s Plan, have been published today.
The Government Efficiencies Review Panel was originally established to receive six-monthly reports on the progress of the Efficiencies Programme, which committed to deliver £40 million of identified efficiencies during 2020, and a further £20 million of efficiencies in 2021. At the start of 2020, the Government removed the previously identified savings from the departmental budgets, and then reconsidered how to deliver a rebalancing programme for 2021-2024.
The Review Panel found that when departments were not able to make the efficiencies they had previously identified, they were expected to deliver alternative efficiencies or defer projects or growth expenditure in order to ‘get across the line’ of the Efficiencies programme.
The Efficiencies Review Panel found little evidence that the Government gave due regard to the views of Islanders when devising its efficiencies programme, nor that elements of the ongoing ‘rebalancing’ programme align with the Common Strategic Priorities, in particular ‘Putting Children First’, ‘Reducing Income Inequality or ‘Improving Islanders’ Wellbeing’.
Deputy Geoff Southern, Chair of the Efficiencies Review Panel said, “The pandemic has meant that 2020 has been a challenging year for Islanders. The Review Panel is concerned that the Government displays wasteful behaviour on the one hand, for example by renting premises outside its already vast estate, and penny-pinching on the other by reducing some services to already hard-hit Islanders. The continuation of an aggressive efficiencies programme can only lead to cuts in services and we strongly recommend that the Government does not impose any efficiency which goes against its aim of improving Islanders’ wellbeing and their standard of living.”
Scrutiny Press Release.