The surveys so far of departmental budgets all reveal the same characeteristics. Far too much is spent on overhead. The error rates are too high, quality is too low. Too much time is spent on spin, PR, advertising, recruiting people to do non jobs, needless regulation, and endless bogus consultation.
Given the imperative to curb spending to cure the deficit, any incoming government should take the following actions in its first week to start to get on top of the problem.
1. Impose a freeze on all external recruitment, excluding front line posts in teaching, medical, and security forces.
2. Set out slimmed down senior management structures which departments should work towards as people leave.
3. Halve the advertising budget.
4. Ban all new consultancy contracts, unless a Minister agrees to one based on a good case which shows how the work canot be done in house, and why it offers value for money.
5. Make a substantial reduction in the numbers of Special Advisers.
6. Abolish unelected regional government, including the Regional Assemblies, Development Agencies, housing and planning quangos.
7. Abolish the superstructure of targets, advice and guidance and cross cutting programmes that Whitehall visits on Councils, allowing them to cut their overhead of box tickers and form fillers at the same time as cutting the departmental costs.
8. End expensive centralised computer programmes. Cancel the ID computer.
9. Start renegotiating the pension plans, and close them to new members.
10. Publish a bill abolishing and amalgamating quangos.
11. Publish the first deregulatory bill.