Treasury Committee Press Notice

27 February 2009: For Immediate Release

New Sub-Committee inquiry:

Evaluating the Efficiency programme

Terms of reference

The Treasury Sub-Committee intends to undertake an inquiry to evaluate progress made under the Gershon efficiency programme in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's departments. The inquiry will examine the progress made to date by the Chancellor's departments in implementing the Government's efficiency programme in so far as it affects those departments, and the effect of the programme on each department's levels of customer service as well as future plans for efficiency and Value for Money savings. The Sub-Committee invites written evidence on this inquiry by Tuesday 17 March.

For the purposes of this inquiry, the Sub-Committee will take the Chancellor of the Exchequer's departments to be: the Debt Management Office; the Government Actuary's Department; HM Treasury; HM Revenue & Customs; and the Office of Government Commerce. In respect of each of these departments, the Sub-Committee expects to:

€ Assess the PBR announcement that the Government had over-achieved against the targets set by the Gershon Efficiency Programme, which included delivering £26.5 billion in savings and a reduction of 86,700 civil service posts between 2004 and 2007 and how this relates to Treasury departments results; how the Treasury has addressed the measurement problems raised by NAO reports on efficiency and how confident they are of their final savings figures;

€ Measure the overall effects of reductions in full-time equivalent posts and reallocations to the front line, and relocation from London and the South-East;

€ Examine the impact on customer service of efficiency measures taken to date; especially in respect of HMRC;

€ Explore what measures the Treasury departments have been set to achieve their share of the additional £5 billion value for money target for 2010-11;

€ Evaluate whether the current Value for Money (VfM)targets (£30 bn savings in 2010-11) are realistic;

€ Assess the clarity and appropriateness of the specific targets which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has set for his departments under the Value for Money targets and what contribution HMT expects to make towards the Public Value programme and the Operational Efficiency programme;

€ Ascertain what the breakdown of efficiency or VfM targets are between the type of work-streams identified in the Gershon programme and how the programme is to be managed;

€ Evaluate how far the Chancellor's departments have benchmarked efficiency in the different parts of their business; and

€ Consider the likely effects of the efficiency programme beyond 2009, including whether the programme can be expected to create a "culture of efficiency" within the Chancellor of the Exchequer's departments.

This inquiry is intended to supplement the Treasury Committee's ongoing work on the wider cross-government efficiency programme, and the roles of HM Treasury, HMRC and the Office of Government Commerce in this context.


Written evidence should be in Word or rich text format€”not PDF format€”and sent by e-mail to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from. The deadline is Tuesday 17 March at 12.00 noon.

Submissions should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the

Freedom of Information Act 2000.


Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon John McFall (Chairman), Nick Ainger, Mr Graham Brady, Mr Colin Breed, Jim Cousins, Mr Michael Fallon (Sub-Committee Chairman), Ms Sally Keeble, Mr Andrew Love, John Mann, Mr George Mudie, John Thurso, Mr Mark Todd, Mr Andrew Tyrie, Sir Peter Viggers.

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