The Welsh Government has launched its National Procurement Service (NPS), with an aim to save £25 million per year and help local firms win public sector contracts.
Finance minister Jane Hutt and local government minister Lesley Griffiths made the announcement today. The NPS, based in Bedwas, Caerphilly, will manage contracts for spend across the public sector in Wales and “reduce expenditure, eliminate duplication, develop a sustainable procurement model, and increase efficiency”.
The Welsh Government said that between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of the total £4.3 billion public sector expenditure is on “common and repetitive goods and services”. This includes stationery, office furniture, professional services, IT hardware and software and transport fleet.
More than 70 public sector organisations are part of the new service – all local authorities, health boards, universities, colleges, fire and rescue and police authorities in Wales.
Hutt said: “How we use our annual £4.3 billion public procurement expenditure continues to have a profound impact on Welsh jobs, in both the public and private sector. As public bodies face tighter budgets we have to look for new ways to save money. Improving public procurement is essential to make the most of the Welsh pound and direct resources to the frontline.
"The creation of the NPS is an important development. It demonstrates that in Wales we can develop innovative approaches through a public sector that is prepared to work collaboratively across organisational boundaries for the greater good.
"The NPS will follow the best practice set out in the Wales Procurement Policy statement published last year which will not only make it easier for suppliers to engage but will also provide crucial opportunities to develop local supply chains with local Welsh businesses."
Griffiths added: “In these challenging financial times all public services, including local authorities, need to take radical action to ensure services are maintained and improved while also giving people value for money.”