Government Procurement Service – 2012/13 performance review

The 2012/13 performance review prepared by Government Procurement Service has been published – that’s  the operational arm of Cabinet Office procurement, or what used to be known as Buying Solutions if you go back that far. (And word is, another name change is around the corner).

David Shields, the MD, has of course recently stepped down and departs very soon, for reasons that still aren’t clear.  However, the report suggests it would be hard to claim failure to meet objectives as a reason behind his departure!

Whilst users will know it hasn’t all been plain sailing – the tortuous ConsultancyOne framework procurement process for instance was not their finest hour – GPS made impressive strides in 12/13. At a headline level, managed spend going through their contracts increased from £8.4 Billion to £11.4 billion – that’s 35% up n a declining market (as overall public sector spend has declined).

Savings claimed are up from £759M to £1200M. Like the managed spend figure, that’s well ahead of the plan.  The report does not split out the spend from central government versus wider public sector, which would be interesting to see. However, the scale of the growth suggests increasing business in both,  impressive given the organisation has no mandate in the wider sectors.

Efficiency has continued to improve – the average time for a procurement has reduced from 220 days in 2010/11 to just 91 days last year on average.  I’m a bit cynical about the level of attention that “Lean Procurement” has had, but there’s no doubt Francis Maude was right to focus on improving what had become overly-lengthy procurement lead-times, not just in GPS but across government.

One of the metrics that is apparently moving in the wrong direction however is “managed spend per FTE” (member of staff).  But this can be explained by GPS taking on the transactional unit in Newport from the Home Office – as they manage low value procurement directly, this drives down the average “spend handled per person” compared to the Liverpool teams who put in place huge national frameworks.

There are other noteworthy points in the report. We’ve mentioned the disappearing Procurement Investment Fund a few times. This is what the document says about that.

The Procurement Investment Fund (PIF) was suspended by the Chief Procurement Officer in September 2012. GPS will continue to meet PIF contractual commitments for projects underway in 2012/13 and beyond, where appropriate.

There’s more about the success of technology – although it is silent on some of the problems that have been experienced in that area -  customer service improvements, the successful relocation in Liverpool and other aspects of the business. (You can read the whole document here).

All in all, it is a pretty impressive performance and a strong valedictory for David Shields.  In time, we’ll see just how much of a loss he is. Will we look back on 2012/13 as the end of a successful era – or just the start of an even more glorious future for GPS or whatever it is called next?

Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen, place your bets...

Voices (2)

  1. Final Furlong:

    How does GPS measure its savings? Against departments’ budgets (actual) or against the procurement transaction (avoidance)? (With reference to the latter, I’m referring to model where, for example, they measure lowest price against the average of all bids received.)

    Or both?

    1. PlanBee:

      Probably both, then they add them together

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