Sunday, February 25, 2007

Is this a remotely credible answer?

Last week, in response to questioning about spending on Royal Mail, the Home Office minister, Liam Byrne said that the Home Office had spent just £1,132 in 2004-05 and £1,624 on Royal Mail. Now I've double-checked this answer more than once just to be sure that I'm not missing a zero or something because I find it absolutely incredible.

I'm pretty sure that Government will have some sort of Civil Service run internal mail system between departments actually based in Whitehall, and I don't doubt a lot of correspondence these days is also electronic.

However, as a first class stamp costs 30p (prior to pricing changes recently), that suggests that the Home Office sends no more than about 30 letters a day to external recipients and so requiring the use of Royal Mail. Unless of they're using another provider of course.

If there is a civil servant out there who might know why this figure is so low don't stay quiet.


komadori said...

Note the wording of the written answer: it is that 'accounting records have recorded expenditure with specific suppliers'. I'm not a civil servant, but as an example of how the figure could be this low, where I work mail is collected by staff from 'our' mailroom who sort it and decide which courier or mail service to use, of which Royal Mail is one. However, the operation of the mailroom is out-sourced, so Royal Mail are not our supplier, but our contractor's supplier. Even though our contractor tells us how much they spend, on our behalf, with each courier, our accounts would show expenditure with Royal Mail (only those items which, for some reason, do not go via the mailroom) of almost zero.

dizzy said...

indeed that does make sense.