Nick launches 'In The Know' to save taxpayers' money

by Stephen Tall on August 28, 2009

Nick Clegg has today launched the Lib Dems’ ‘Ask the People in the Know’ project inviting public sector workers to help identify ways in which government can cut out waste while protecting services in order to save taxpayers’ money.

Anyone working in the public sector can submit their ideas on where money can be saved at http://nickclegg.com/intheknow. Nick has pledged that ideas submitted via the ‘Asking the People Who Know’ website will help inform the work currently being undertaken by the party to identify areas of waste in public spending:

Hard-working nurses and teachers tell me how frustrated they are by the money which is being wasted on needless paperwork, administration and computer systems that don’t work. David Cameron and Gordon Brown are having a sterile debate about the size of the total Whitehall budget.

But they’re asking the wrong question: we first need to find out if money is being spent on the right things. It can’t be right that billions of pounds are being spent on NHS computer systems which don’t work, yet basic help for people with serious mental health conditions is still lacking because of a shortage of money.

“The people who are best placed to tell us where money is not being well spent are the teachers, nurses, social workers and other public servants who work so hard day and night on our behalf. Politicians should stop talking over the heads of public servants. We need to listen to the people in the know on how we can better run public services, making sure that every penny of taxpayers’ money is well spent. That’s what ‘Asking People In The Know’ is all about.”

Lib Dem blogger ‘Costigan Quist’ was quickest on the draw with his response:

It’s a neat idea. Instead of relying on some think-tank’s idea of where savings can be made, or wading in with the big stick of political dogma, why not ask the people who know – the people who see the waste day-in, day-out. … But there are problems. … if the result is a bit of publicity and a genuine exercise where the party picks up some genuinely good ideas that could save hundreds of millions, it’s thumbs up. If it ends up a bit of a joke with some dodgy ideas to shave a few hundred quid off the public sector bill, probably not.