04 November 2010
The great ideas just keep on coming
The Telegraph carried a report on a major new initiative to cut waste. Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, has said that any officials who took over the functions of axed Non Departmental Public Bodies should use up their old letterhead and notepaper to save money.
Mr Maude said he wanted civil servants to “cross out the old name” and write the name of the department instead. He said: “It is a very good idea. It should be an absolute iron rule.”
Mr Maude told the MPs he wanted officials to follow an example set by Margaret Thatcher when she split up the Department of Health Social Security into two departments in 1988.
Mr Maude: “The then-Prime Minister said to Ken Clarke, its new Health secretary: ‘I don’t want you to have any new stationery until the old stuff has been used up…For months afterwards, letters went out with ‘Department of Social Security’ carefully crossed out by Department of Health staff. I would expect the same approach to be taken today.”
Hmm the DHSS was broken up in the late 1980s when desktop computers would have been rare and correspondence was produced in typing pools (or by a secretary if you were very lucky) so there would have been far more pre-printed headed paper than there would be nowadays
Most headers would be stored on a pc and printed directly these days so I can imagine this iron rule will save far less than the value of his sound bite.
Then again if this is the best that Maude has to offer in the first six months of office then I shudder to think what he will be saying when he runs out of ideas!