Spending Review today – and CPO Agenda article on public procurement

A lot of what we have heard about the Spending Review has been around things that aren't being cut - schools, defence not as much as expected, Crossrail, Social care etc.  So far, the numbers don't seem to add up.  So I predict a couple of big surprises today - stuff that hasn't been written about in the papers that will have a big impact on spend.  Public sector salaries or pensions?  I don't know, but there must be something big I suspect.

Anyway...there is every chance you get quite enough of me writing about public sector procurement here, but if you would like something longer than usual, I've written a piece for the CPO Agenda magazine that has recently been published. It is on the website as well here.

I look at how difficult the challenge of reducing spending in the procurement area is going to be for the UK public sector, and compare how the private sector would go about it compared to the public (where there are more constraints.) I also talk about the Canadian government experience of cost reduction.

Then I get into the major procurement initiatives underway here; centralised procurement, transparency and so on.  I finish with a plea for the government to retain someone with an overarching aim of improving public sector procurmeent (now Nigel Smith has gone); here's my final paragraph.

At a time when procurement performance is critical for the public sector, the danger is that central government will become inwardly focused on its own “commodity” purchasing, while the wider public sector fragments with less focus and a lack of ownership of the goal of improving public procurement. It is early days for the new government, but much is riding on Watmore and his team at the ERG as it considers where public procurement needs to go next.

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