01 March 2001 | David Arminas
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is to open talks with government departments to assess their progress towards the target of buying 90 per cent of low-value, high-volume goods electronically by April.
The information would be collected within the "next three to four months", Jane Gibbs, the OGC's director of e-commerce, told SM, although the figures would not be used to draw up a "league table".
She denied reports that the figure achieved by Whitehall was only 40 per cent. No data had yet been collected.
Once the information had been gathered, other targets may be considered, "but these will have to be set in consultation with the departments", said Gibbs. The OGC should not be a slave to targets, she said. "I have always said that the 90 per cent target is aspirational."
The targets were originally set in the 1999 white paper Modernising Government, and the OGC inherited them when it came into existence last April.
The OGC has said that it was not regularly monitoring how much e-procurement was taking place in departments and agencies and question marks have surrounded which purchasing methods would be eligible for inclusion if a tally of departmental spending was undertaken.
A key step towards meeting the target has been the adoption of a government procurement card. A recent report by consultancy KPMG found that growing use of the card has saved £9.6 million since its introduction three years ago.