Saving money is hard to do

There is a story in the Guardian today about how Barnet Council's plans to save money have cost more so far than it will save. You can see the story here. My experience tells me that this picture will be repeated around the country. When faced with saving money a chief executive or finance director can easily justify the setting up of a project or programme team and I have no doubt that they talk about this team "driving out" savings and "transforming" processes and a bunch of other consultant-speak. But the fact is that the estimated costs of such a team will be incurred from day one because salaries have to be paid, and if there are external advisors in the team (and often there are) they will send their bills in each month, whilst the savings may be achieved. Savings, though, usually require changes to be made by staff who are not in the project or programme team. This always takes time, and often there will be a battle about who gets the credit because if every department has a savings target they each want to claim as much as possible against their own.