An increase in flexible working within government could cut its IT bill by a third, according to new research from desktop virtualisation vendor Citrix, which claims that more efficient use of desk space could drive the savings.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request sent to the Cabinet Office by Citrix last autumn found that central government's entire ICT estate currently costs the taxpayer £490.40 per square metre, which equates to £47.9m per department.
These figures could be cut in two if its virtual desktops were used, claimed Citrix.
The FOI request response also showed that across the government, the amount of desk space per person ranges between 0.8 and 1.6 desks per person. But according to Citrix's calculations this figure could be reduced to 0.4 desks per person if virtual desktops were used, among other office efficiencies.
Citrix arrived at its figures by comparing the costs of traditional and virtual desktop architecture over a three-year period across 311,704 of the public sector's office-based workers.
The vendor's vice president of northern Europe James Stevenson said government ICT savings could be put back into the public purse.
"By embracing the benefits offered by modern technology and more flexible working practices, the government could effectively halve the number of desks it maintains across departments," he added.
"This not only means cost savings which can be passed on to taxpayers, but also presents a fantastic opportunity to transform the way government works, making it more agile and efficient while at the same time improving frontline service delivery."
Last month, the National Audit Office claimed that government had made a "good start" to its IT savings agenda after it claimed it had saved £410m last year alone.
It further claimed that it will look to smaller, more agile IT suppliers in order to drive efficiencies, including those involved with open source technology.
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