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Reducing the Cost of Public Services: Survey Response Summary published as discussions continue with States Committees

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Monday 13 May 2024

The Reducing the Cost of Public Services Sub-Committee is today publishing additional details on the responses received to its public survey, carried out in the summer of last year.

A summary, released today, shows the number of individual ideas relating to each area of government, and the biggest themes for each of those areas.  This builds on the very early insights that were published in August (Cost reduction public survey - initial insights - States of Guernsey (gov.gg)).

The summary focuses on the public survey responses, as well as those received through sister surveys held for public sector employees and Deputies.  However, substantial work has taken place in reviewing those responses since they were received, and they have been shared with Committees to understand better the potential cost reductions, as well as other risks and opportunities.

Preliminary analysis has been carried out which provide some indicative potential savings for some of the suggestions, but in some areas these cannot be quantified without additional work.  This includes both ideas that relate to savings and cost reductions and to those which propose revenue raising opportunities.  The Sub-Committee continues to work towards the target agreed by the States, of £10m - £16m of annual cost reductions delivered over five years.

Through feedback from Committees, it has been found that many of the savings with the most potential to realise worthwhile cost reductions, overlap with existing reviews which are already in progress or due to happen soon.  As such, the Sub-Committee, and the Policy & Resources Committee, believe it is important to ensure that a systematic and focused approach is taken in order to make material progress.

In addition, the Sub-Committee needs to work with relevant Committees on associated work streams as set out in its terms of reference, namely how the development of a universal offer, initially in health and care services, can be progressed and the operating model of trading assets.

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, chair of the Sub-Committee said:

"Now that we're getting a clearer picture of where the most promising suggestions sit within the States' different areas of responsibility, we can see where work that's already underway dovetails with the ideas for reducing costs.  One example is in health, which is the biggest area of expenditure for the States.  The Committee for Health & Social Care is undertaking a primary care review and looking at a sustainable healthcare delivery model, and it is clearly logical and practical to make sure some of the very good suggestions we have had are included in these reviews, rather than working on them as separate isolated matters which could lead to unintended consequences. We do not want to see salami slicing of services that could result in greater costs in the long term.

There were a considerable number of suggestions that are considered worthy of taking forward. However, it would be impossible to embark on every one at once. Indeed, it could be argued that the States are already trying to do too much and as a result are not managing to deliver on opportunities that have already been identified. Therefore, our immediate next steps are to meet with some of the Committee areas where we believe the biggest cost reductions, in financial terms, can be made, and unsurprisingly that includes our biggest spending Committee areas ie health, education and social security to understand their appetite and approach to taking things forward."

Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller, member of the Sub-Committee said:

"The Sub-Committee had said previously it hoped to make recommendations to the Policy & Resources Committee early this year.  But in light of the volume of responses and the need to coordinate with other existing reviews, we think that's now unrealistic, and would not achieve the best and most coordinated outcome.  It will therefore report back by the end of the year in line with the original direction of the States, which is a more reasonable and realistic timeframe.

We very much appreciate the contributions of the many people who took part in the survey which has exceeded our expectations. We are also mindful there are many other people out there who did not send in suggestions but also have their own views on public spending.  Whilst this preliminary analysis points to the potential for significant savings, as the next step we will be working closely with the Committees to develop them further to see which should be taken forward.  And, ultimately, it will be up to the States of Deliberation, to decide whether they are willing to make some potentially difficult decisions in order to meet the target of £10-£16m in cost reductions that they resolved to find."

Downloads

Reducing the Cost of Public Services Survey - Summary Report

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