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Stormont savings scheme 'did not deliver'

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 01/12/2015

Auditor General Kieran Donnelly
Auditor General Kieran Donnelly

A government scheme to help cash-strapped departments make long-term savings was unimaginative, lacked focus and may not have served its purpose, according to an audit office report.

The Invest To Save fund was set up by the Stormont Executive in 2010 to help deal with the upfront costs of efficiency savings.

But, even though £311m was ringfenced for 31 projects and should not have been used for any other purpose, much of the money was re-directed to mitigate front-line financial pressures within health and on the roads.

Auditor General Kieran Donnelly said: "The primary focus of Invest to Save funding was on delivering savings. However, almost one third of projects did not anticipate and/or quantify savings and no specific savings targets were set, monitored or reported on for the schemes as a whole. Whilst not disputing the merits of the projects which were funded, it is not clear how many met the criteria."

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