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MOD Told To 'Get A Grip' Over Cost Savings

Ministry of Defence Plaque

The Ministry of Defence is making "little progress" towards a target to cut 30% of its civilian workforce and save £310 million by 2020, Whitehall's spending watchdog has warned.

Since defence chiefs promised in 2015 to cut 17,200 posts by next year, the number of civilian workers has in fact fallen by just 1,100 - and even rose by 220 over the 12 months to October 2018 - the National Audit Office (NAO) said.

The watchdog said the ministry has now accepted it will not meet its target of saving £310 million from civilian staff costs by next year and is seeking to pursue efficiencies as part of a wider transformation programme.

Costs in fact increased by £87 million between 2015/16 and 2017/18 and are expected to continue to rise in 2018/19, and the Treasury and Cabinet Office did not sufficiently challenge Ministry of Defence (MoD) claims it was moving towards its target, the NAO said in a report.

The report added that, despite being aware since 2010 of "inefficient and inconsistent working practices", the MoD had not yet modernised roles performed by civilian workers, who include policy developers, analysts, doctors, engineers and commercial managers.

Between 2010 and 2015, the ministry met its target of reducing the civilian headcount from 85,900 to 58,200.


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