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Critically analyze how successful the British governments use of Spending Reviews has been as a way of making government more strategic. Your analysis should cover Spending Reviews during the periods of growth (1998-2007) and austerity (2008 onw - Essay Example

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What was originally a measure adopted in 1998 to maximize the effectiveness of the attainment of goals has, in 2007 when the nation was in…
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Critically analyze how successful the British governments use of Spending Reviews has been as a way of making government more strategic. Your analysis should cover Spending Reviews during the periods of growth (1998-2007) and austerity (2008 onw
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Critically analyze how successful the British governments use of Spending Reviews has been as a way of making government more strategic. Your analysis should cover Spending Reviews during the periods of growth (1998-2007) and austerity (2008 onw

The aim of this research paper is to determine how successfully the Spending Reviews of the British government have enabled it to strategically attain its goals.
The Spending Review is ‘the HM Treasury led process that allocates public expenditures.’1 It is intended to ‘set a clear direction for reform, focused on shifting power from central government to the local level.’2
In the late 1990s, the New Labour government came into power in the U.K., and embarked on several reforms whereby public spending may be made more effectively. One of these reforms is the introduction of medium-term spending reviews. The first Comprehensive Spending Review was conducted in 1998 and published in July of that year. Three subsequent spending reviews were conducted in the years 2000, 2002 and 2004. The subsequent Comprehensive Spending Review was conducted in 2007, and the next after that in 2010.3
The diagram on the following page shows the progression of Spending Reviews from 1998 when the process was first adopted and the first Comprehensive SR was conducted, to the next CST in 2007. From 1998 to 2004, the number of targets was pared down from 600 to 110, while the refinement of the review process was also gradually undertaken during SR00, SR02 and SR04. By CSR07, a more radical change was adopted in a reformed framework where there was a decentralization of control and devolution of the review process to the departments. The purpose was to better engage users in the process of spending control and strategic prioritisation.
The adoption of the CST98 was in line with the public sector reform for that year, which introduced the three year spending plans, as well as the use of resource based accounting and budgeting. The review stressed greater protection for capital spending, proper asset management, and was anchored on outcome-focused performance targets.5
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