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Citizen Today, August 2011 - UK Treasury reform goals - EY - Global

Citizen Today, August 2011

UK Treasury reform goals

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“We want to make the presentation of data less opaque and more transparent.” Justine Greening, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The UK’s Coalition Government is unwavering in its determination to balance the books. Treasury minister Justine Greening takes time out from her drive to improve financial management across government to discuss her program of reform — and why it is so important.

Video: Justine Greening
on government and finance
at a conference this year

Financial management focus

The goal of the UK’s Coalition Government is simple: use tax payer’s money more efficiently.

Justine Greening, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, believes that one of the ways to achieve this goal is to standardize the governments accounting and budgeting practices. This unification program is called “Clear Line of Sight.”

For example, here are a few of the different frameworks the government uses.

  1. Estimates – these are discussed and voted on in the House of Commons
  2. Budgets – negotiates with different departments
  3. National accounts – published by the government and may contain different data than found in estimates and budgets

“Clear Line of Sight” is important because the public can judge the government against their spending targets, says Greening.

“We want to make the presentation of data less opaque and more transparent,” she says.

Developing finance professionals

In addition to creating a uniform budget system, another Coalition Government goal is to improve professional development programs for government finance professionals.

“If you’re an official in the government finance profession and move between departments — as often happens — then we want those people to have a common understanding of how finance works across government — rather than having to relearn their new department’s approach to finance because it is different from their previous one,” says Greening.

Public-private crossover

Greening sees benefits in private sector finance professionals crossing over to work in a public government job and visa versa. Not only can a new crossover bring a helpful skill set to the new job, it can bring personal rewards, as well.

“It is a huge opportunity, as well as being a great development opportunity for a lot of our finance people across government to get involved in this change process we want to drive through.”

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