Headlines: June 5th, 2009

The Audit Commission has detailed a series of measures to keep down its costs. They include job cuts, reduced staff expenses and the scrapping of bonuses for directors in a move which the Commission says is in keeping with ‘the national mood of seeking best value for the public purse’.

The Commission’s board agreed to scrap a Directors’ Bonuses scheme for top managers as Commissioners were told about other steps which have been taken in the last year, including shedding 89 posts, equivalent to a 4.3 per cent cut in staffing.

The annual pay bill has been reduced by two million pounds, savings are being made in staff mileage through greater use of video conferencing and public transport and savings of seven million pounds will be made over the next nine years by re-letting a third of the Commission’s London floor-space. The Commission has also begun giving fee rebates to councils and other bodies to help them cope with new financial reporting standards.

Chief Executive, Steve Bundred, said: “ We fully recognise that, as a watchdog funded by the public purse, it is important for us to keep pay and bonuses under continuous and sharp scrutiny, just as we expect those we audit and inspect to do.”

Twenty five senior managers would have been eligible for average performance-related payments of £7,556 but the board agreed that the payments did not act as an incentive and decided to consolidate them into basic pay, at a net saving to the organisation. The move was recommended by the remuneration committee, chaired by businessman Raj Rajagopal. He said: “While we drive efficiency and value for money in the public sector we must also drive our own performance hard.