The Bank of England lacks a clear vision for how to modernise the way it works, while its processes are overly complicated, inefficient and costly to manage, MPs believe.
That was damning conclusion of a report into the central bank by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee, which warned that the bank does not have a strategy in place specifying exactly what its central services will look like in the years to come.
It noted that the bank has committed to developing a clear vision by April this year, adding: “This vision is vital because without one the bank cannot make sound decisions about the people, locations or technology it needs.”
The MPs’ report slammed the Bank of England over its failure to enforce compliance with its own policies, suggesting this “undermines its credibility to demand compliance from others”.
It noted that bank staff had violated its procurement policy for purchases above £25,000 up to 200 times between December 2016 and December 2017, with the bank admitting its policy and function were “not fit for purpose”.
Expensive compared to public sector
The bank was also warned that many of its processes were more complicated than necessary, as well as incredibly costly to administer, with MPs arguing that its technology and HR costs of £101.4m and £15.8m respectively for 2017-18 are expensive compared with public sector benchmarks.
The report states: “The bank should, by June 2019, write to us setting out how it will simplify its staffing structure and make sure that pay, promotions and recruitment are led by a clear understanding of the skills and capability needed by the bank, not the skill levels and ambitions of staff currently in post.”
The report also took issue with the way the Bank of England has managed its “extensive property portfolio”, arguing that the it has not thought hard enough about establishing a more prominent regional office outside of London or sub-letting parts of its headquarters.
It stated: “It is clear that some of its property does not have a clear link to the bank’s overall objectives or responsibilities. The bank acknowledges that it is not defensible for a public body to still have its own sports ground and centre which only 13% of staff are members of.”