Exclusive: McKibbin backs spend to save and plans zero redundancies

Despite a change of approach in Whitehall, civil servants in Northern Ireland will continue to pursue ‘spend to save’, Dr Malcolm McKibbin, head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS), has told CSW.


By Civil Service World

28 Mar 2012

Arguing for investment in systems that will produce savings by increasing efficiency, McKibbin said NICS “will adopt a spend to save approach. I think, quite clearly, there can be upfront costs in terms of the infrastructure: the hardware and software support that’s required. But the savings downstream are potentially significant.”

In England, civil servants are instead being told to ‘save to spend’: to cut costs from programme budgets to release funds for investment. Asked about this point, McKibbin replied: “I am a fan of spend to save. Whether it’s carved out of an existing departmental budget, or whether the executive recognises the corporate benefit of dealing with an initiative that will have an upfront capital cost and benefit the Northern Ireland Executive in the longer term, I don’t see any intellectual difficulty with that. There are practical difficulties in squeezing out the necessary finance, but if the benefit is worth it, I think [a project] will be given serious consideration.”

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