Treasury backs plan for ‘disruptive innovation’ in Whitehall

Pilots to develop new public value frameworks will be taken forward next year

Sir Michael Barber at an Institute for Government event. Credit: IfG

By Richard Johnstone

22 Nov 2017

Chancellor Philip Hammond has used his Budget to back a government-commissioned review that called for the creation of new public value frameworks to drive better spending across Whitehall.

The 2017 Budget has accepted the central recommendation of a Whitehall efficiency review by Sir Michael Barber to introduce the new tools to measure how effectively public spending delivers results that improve people’s lives. This is intended to provide data on how to boost productivity and offer practical insights into changes.


Barber called for departments and public bodies such as schools and hospitals be “routinely challenged” to consistently use their data to deliver marginal performance gains at no extra cost to the taxpayer.

“As the government continues to seek opportunities to harness data and share its knowledge, there is every reason to believe that year-on-year, nudge-by-nudge, there should be improvements in performance across the board as a matter of course and without extra cost,” he said.

Alongside marginal gains, there should also be increasing "disruptive innovation" in government, through "radically new ways of doing things that deliver much better outcomes for reduced costs".

Barber had called for this to be piloted with some departments and agencies during the first half of next year, and the Treasury confirmed it would now be done so in collaboration with departments during 2018.

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