LONDON – Freshly appointed U.K. government IT chief Martin Read will head up a wide-reaching program to slash government spending over the next 12 months through IT and back office efficiencies.

The Operational Efficiency Programme, announced by Treasury secretary Yvette Cooper last week, is a far-reaching program of reforms to cut costs and improve “value for money.”

The program covers five strands, which includes: back office and IT; collaborative procurement; asset management and sales; property; and local incentives and empowerment across the public sector.

Savings from IT will be a key area that will look beyond back office costs in central government departments, and review the wider public sector, including executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, the NHS and local government.

Read’s prime focus will be on how to get better value out of large IT projects. This could encompass helping the government to exit troubled IT projects.

The aim is to build on the cost cutting made by the government under the Gershon Review in 2004, where

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