Public Sector Efficiency: Poacher turned Gamekeeper (24 May 2005)

Is ‘Yes Minister’ fictional comedy or reality TV? What are the real differences between the public and private sectors? Can success ever be the norm in public sector IT projects? Based on his 4 years working at the heart of Government as the first Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce and then as Head of the Review of Public Sector Efficiency Peter will seek to answer these questions and provoke a lively debate.

Sir Peter Gershon

Peter’s 35 year career has spanned both the private and public sectors since he graduated in Mathematics at Cambridge University in 1969. After starting in the computer industry (1969-1986) he worked in the telecommunications industry (1987-1994) and then became the main board director in GEC plc in 1994 with responsibility for its defence business. Following the sale of GEC’s defence business to BAE SYSTEMS in late 1999 he joined the Civil Service in April 2000 as the first Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce which reformed over £13 billion p.a. of public procurement achieving £1.6 billion saving by March03. In August 2003 Peter lead a major review of efficiency across the whole UK Public Sector which by July 2004 had secured agreement to over £20 billion of savings in 07/08. Peter has now returned to the private sector as Chairman of Symbian Ltd. and Chairman of Premier Farnell plc. His other current appointments include heading a review of Ministerial and Royal Air Travel, membership of the Cabinet Secretary’s Civil Service Reform Programme Board, non-executive directorship of HM Treasury, and membership of the councils of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Imperial College.

Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Electrical Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply and the Royal Aeronautical Society; a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute; a member of the British Computer Society and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists. He has an Honorary Doctorate in Technology from Kingston University. He was awarded the CBE in 2000 for services to industry and knighted in 2004 for his work on public procurement.