Public procurement and political positioning….

Now that we are within 6 months or so of an election campaign, we can expect to see lots of people expressing views about public sector procurement; quite rightly given that it accounts for around £180 billion a year of government spend.  Whoever wins the election is going to have to address public sector costs, and spending less money, more effectively, with third party suppliers will be key.

So as various pronouncements are made, we will be taking an open but analtytical look at what is being said in this area. We approach things from a genuinely non-partisan standpoint; I don't know who I will vote for at the election, and apart from a spell as an SDP (remember them?) member at the height of their success I have been a pretty floating voter for some time.  What I do dislike is fatuous, simplistic comments and proposals around public procurement made by people who have no clue as to what they're talking about.  We'll be on the look out for those.

Two interesting documents to consider this week; the CBI has issued a report "Doing more with less - a credible strategy for restoring the public finances", which contains procurement related ideas; and Edward Leigh, the Tory MP who chairs the Public Accounts Committee has written an open letter to the Chancellor,  complaining that PAC recommendations have not been implemented.  Many of these relate to government spending and procurement.

"Slow progress in realising the savings the committee set out shows that the biggest challenge to the government is translating aspiration into action. Our work has consistently shown over a number of years how efficiencies can be achieved in practice. We are therefore convinced that much more can be done," he wrote.

We'll have a look at these two documents and let you know what we think.

Peter Smith

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