PracticeAccounting FirmsPrison Service looks to unlock huge savings

Prison Service looks to unlock huge savings

HM Prison Service FD Ann Beasley plans to cut costs by at least £35m a year with the launch of a shared service centre in Wales

In an interview with Accountancy Age, Beasley said the new centre
was a crucial part of the service’s efficiency drive to cope with an
increasingly tight budget.

The service admitted in its latest business plan that its £2.5bn budget for
2005/06 placed it in ‘a challenging financial position’, leaving Beasley with
the responsibility for cutting costs without compromising quality.

‘Ultimately, we had to make a step change in the way we ran things,’ Beasley
said. ‘You can’t keep on doing what I call salami-slicing – where you do
everything that you did last year but on a little bit less – because there comes
a point where you just do everything badly.’

When Beasley arrived in 2003, the prison service had different finance
systems on separate servers for each of its 128 jails. It also paid expenses in
cash and took six weeks to consolidate accounts.

Beasley has since streamlined the accounts on a single system and is doing
the same for human resources and procurement.

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