Update on UK Gov’s Institutional Profligacy

As you may recall, a couple of weeks ago I used Write to Them to contact my MP, Jeremy Hunt, regarding the comments of the new CIO of HMRC and how it seemed that saving money was not being encouraged by our civil servants. I discussed it in this blog post:

Phil Pavitt, recently-appointed CIO for HM Revenue and Customs, has revealed that attempts to cut government budget is positively discouraged. In a telling anecdote, he says “In my first few weeks of the job I was visited by leading members of the Cabinet Office. In that conversation with me they mentioned I am in the top purchasing club… That means you have tremendous influence on buying power, buying ideas and management and so on.”I said ‘If I reduce costs by 50 per cent what happens?’, ‘Well, you leave the club,’ I was told.”

A couple of days ago I got a follow up from Jeremy after he received a reply from the Rt. Hon Angela Smith MP, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office. He didn’t seem that impressed…

Dear Alan,

Further to my email of 16th February 2010, I have now received the attached response from the Rt Hon Angela Smith MP, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office.

Given the worrying content of your email, the Minister has responded with little more than a standard response about how they always try to obtain good value for money.

Sadly we will never know what was said amongst the Minister and her civil servants about your email. However, I think we can be confident that it bore no resemblance to the final response I received!

Whilst Ms Smith’s comments are not surprise, I am sorry to have to pass on such a disappointing reply. If there is anything further I can take up with the Minister in the future on this issue, please feel free to let me know.

Best wishes


Jeremy Hunt
Member of Parliament
South West Surrey

I’ve attached the reply* so everyone can read it. Here is page 1, and here is page 2.

As you will see, the response is just a stock reply and gives almost no comment whatsoever to the main thrust of the question.

* The Minister’s response was emailed to me as a scanned PDF and it contained my home address and her email and phone numbers. I imported it into Inkscape and obfuscated those details which ended up creating 2 separate files.

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