Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has invited nurses and other public sector workers to submit suggestions on how to cut waste in the public sector.
The party says its Ask the People in the Know project recognises that serious savings will have to be made to bring public finances under control and seeks the expertise of those working in the public sector on how to cut out waste while protecting services.
Mr Clegg said: “Hardworking nurses and teachers tell me how frustrated they are by the money which is still wasted on needless paperwork, administration and computer systems that don’t work.
“David Cameron and Gordon Brown are having a sterile debate about the size of the total Whitehall budget. But they’re asking the wrong question: we first need to find out if money is being spent on the right things.
“The people who are best placed to tell us where money is not being well spent are the teachers, nurses, social workers and other public servants who work so hard day and night to serve the public.”
Mr Clegg has also told The Guardian that he wants hospitals to be forced to reduce the costs of operations to the lowest tariff in the country.
Under the Lib Dem plan, hospital trusts would be forced to charge the same rate for operations as the cheapest and most efficient hospitals in the country.