Headlines: July 16th, 2013

The civil service values taxing and regulating more highly than saving taxpayers money. In a move to change this culture, an incentive scheme has been launched to reward staff with ideas for saving money.

Civil servants at the Department for Communities and Local Government are being encouraged to become money saving experts. Innovative, thrifty thinking that saves taxpayers’ money will put them in line for small scale rewards, such as shopping vouchers. The move is part of wider measures made by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles to reduce departmental waste and save taxpayers’ money. The measure will pay for itself by rewarding ideas which save money.

Eric Pickles said: “I want to hear from the bright sparks in the department who, in the years of spend, spend spend, may have felt that their ideas to save, save, save fell on deaf ears. I want to tap into their expertise and insight, shaving pounds off the balance sheet and saving taxpayers’ money. I want to change the culture of the Civil Service: rewarding people for taxing, regulating and interfering less in other people’s lives.”

Changing culture is a slow process, but the incentive scheme sends a strong message from the top about how people should behave. On going publicity about the rewards and reward ceremonies will refresh the message.

Providing incentives to staff to flag up money saving ideas is the latest in a long list of sensible measures taken by the department to drive down costs and reduce waste, including clamping down on the use of corporate credit cards.