Public Accounts

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:35 pm on 12th March 2009.

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Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Chair, Public Accounts Committee 1:35 pm, 12th March 2009

I did not go to Oxbridge myself. I do not know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, whether you went to Oxbridge—you are not going to enlighten us. Anyway, we had better move on, but I take the hon. Gentleman's point, which is a very good one.

Knowing that the public sector can sometimes get the job done makes it all the more frustrating when things go pear-shaped, as I am afraid they often do. Unfortunately, my Committee has found that excellence across the board still remains elusive. Let us take one example—the Committee's report on the Department for Transport's initiative to share with its seven agencies a central unit of corporate services. The project was dreamt up as an efficiency drive aimed at saving the taxpayer £57 million by 2015. Sadly, what followed was an example at risk of ridicule, rather than a shining example of revolution. This "inefficiency" initiative managed to cost the taxpayer an extra £81 million, and on occasion the swanky new system took to communicating in German—not so much "Yes, Minister" as "Jawohl, Minister". Rather than obtaining the benefits of German efficiency—

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