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Sir David Varney Moves from HMRC to Comprehensive Spending Review

One of the key figures in the Government’s mission to transform the delivery of the public services in the United Kingdom has elected to concentrate all his energies on the project, it was announced recently.

The individual in question, Sir David Varney, was appointed as an adviser to the Government, and was given the task of determining the opportunities for transforming the delivery of public services. This is set to report to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown MP, via the Comprehensive Spending Review. The work that this entails has seen Sir David elect to stand down as the Chairman of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), to allow himself to concentrate fully on his role as the Chancellor’s senior adviser on Transformational Government.

The Background

Sir David Varney, now 60, is leaving his role as Chairman of HMRC after almost two years in the post. He was appointed in September 2004. He will stand down almost precisely two years after taking his position, on the 1st September 2006, and will continue to work within the Treasury building until he leaves the Civil Service at the end of the year. He will maintain his influence during this period, remaining in position as a member of the Permanent Secretaries Management and Steering Groups and a non Executive Director on the Board of HMRC.

Before his tenure at HMRC< Sir David was active in the commercial world. He was the Chairman of MM02, the leading mobile telecommunications company, since its creation in May of 2001. Previously, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of BG Group (previously British Gas) from 1996 to 2000. He moved to this post following a variety of positions held at Shell, including the position of Managing Director of AB Svenska Shell in Sweden and Director of Shell International in Europe. Further involvement includes a stint as chairman of Business in the Community from 2002 to 2004.

Welcome Aboard

The Chancellor welcomed Sir David’s involvement in the transformation agenda, saying: “I am grateful to Sir David for his leadership of HMRC. He has overseen a transformation of the service that will be of huge benefit in the future and leaves the Department in good shape for the next set of challenges. I am grateful for Sir David’s willingness to apply his expertise to the reform agenda generally and to the benefit of other public services.”

Sir David clearly feels proud of his achievements with HMRC, but looks forward to his new mission; the improvement of service provision in the public sector. He said: “I am leaving the newly created HMRC with a clear plan to improve further service to our customers over the next five years and a successful new management team to deliver this plan. I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the improvement of public services across government.”

The appointment of an individual of such long experience in the financial and commercial world will serve the Government in good stead as they seek to enhance the delivery of public services in the most efficient and cost ““ effective manner possible. However, this appointment may be seen by some, particularly those involved in the provision of adult and community based learning, as a further indication that public services of the future will be more economically focussed and could come at the expense of the courses deemed less crucial to economic success.

Jethro Marsh

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