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CIPD Conference and Exhibition: Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green's approach to savings is 'simplistic and nave', says senior civil servant.

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A Ministry of Defence HR director yesterday labelled the approach of government efficiency reviewer, Sir Philip Green (pictured), as 'simplistic and nave'.

Jonathan Evans, the Ministry’s director of civilian personnel, made the comments at the CIPD Conference in Manchester.

"I personally get quite offended when someone like Philip Green comes in and says ‘put all your accruals together and you’ll save money and save jobs’," Evans said. "It’s simplistic and a pretty naïve, frankly, approach."

Green—owner of the second largest clothing retail empire in the UK—was invited by the Prime Minister to lead a review into government spending in August. His report was published in October.

Evans—formerly HR Director of French telecommunications company Orange—was addressing a seminar entitled ‘Public Sector Performance Management: a new reality’ in which he detailed the efforts of the Ministry to find unprecedented savings.

"I think there is a myth in government that bringing in private sector people is going to revolutionise their work." Evans said. "The MoD is the most complex place I’ve every worked. Orange actually was pretty straightforward.

"Great people are great people in the public or private sector. It’s good to bring private sector people in but you must never lose what makes the public sector different."

Evans hailed the current economic situation as an "opportunity" for the HR sector.

"HR is uniquely placed, a fantastic condition to rise [to] this opportunity," Evans told the audience of HR personnel. "There is a real change here. You can make a difference to your organisation.

"The first job is to make sure you’ve got a sustainable organisation, both at the start, during and at the end of it."

The session was chaired by Angela O’Connor, chief people officer at the National Policing Improvement Agency.