Coalition agreement – what does it mean for public procurement?

I  was in a Government Department office on Thursday morning and the most common thing I heard was "I better read the coalition document before the new Ministers get in".

So if you are in public procurement, and you haven't read it yet, here it is.

And if you don't want to bother, the procurement related highlights are:

  • "modest cuts of £6 billion" will be made in 2010/11 (and I stick by my prediction that they will turn  out to be tougher to achieve than people expect)
  • there will be a full spending review this Autumn and a Defence review
  • there will be "radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups" - not sure what this means but I suspect it will have an impact on procurement - more focus on regional rather than national deals perhaps?
  • "The parties agree to end all existing welfare to work programmes and to create a single welfare to work programme to help all unemployed people get back into work."  Wow!  That's a huge procurement for DWP to oversee...and claimants get referred to the 'programme' immediately rather than after 12 months.  That is in effect a 'privatisation' of a big element of Job Centre Plus I believe...
  • Establishment of a high speed rail network

So..perhaps not surprisingly, as they were probably not top of the list for negotiations, nothing about publishing all contracts, support for SMEs in government procurement, reforming defence procurement or some other stuff that interested  me from a procurement standpoint in the manifestos.

It may be significant that the 'environment'' section is the longest in the document. I suspect there will be some interesting work - perhaps 'commercial' rather than pure procurement - around new methods of energy production, smart metering and so on.

Anyway, much more of interest willl become clear over the next weeks I'm sure.

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