White elephants in whitehall.

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There were more than 90 reorganisations in UK central government between May 2005 and June 2009, costing an average of [pounds sterling]200m a year, but most were unable to demonstrate value for money, according to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO).


Since 1980, 25 central government departments have been created, 13 of which no longer exist. In the US only two new departments have been set up in the same period. The NAO said that most of the UK reorganisations had vague objectives and failed to track costs and benefits.

Its research found that UK central government bodies and associated "arm's-length bodies" had been weak at identifying and securing the benefits they wanted from restructuring. There had been no standard approach for preparing and assessing business cases. More than half of the reorganisations hadn't compared the expected costs and benefits of alternative options, so there was no way of telling whether the chosen approaches were the most cost-effective. In addition, no department had set metrics to track the benefits to justify restructuring, making it impossible to show that the eventual benefits outweighed the costs.

The report stated that central government had been poor at identifying the costs of reorganisation and that...

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