17 July 2003 | Robin Parker
Government departments aim to save £35 million on the procurement of services after more than doubling the public sector's number of approved suppliers.
The Office of Government Commerce has expanded the S-Cat agreements, which contribute more than half of the £600 million annual public sector spend on professional services, to help more small firms win government contracts.
The catalogue now contains 170 approved suppliers, compared with 78 in the previous version, set up six years ago.
The new suppliers, a third of which are small firms, were all identified through competitive tendering in the Official Journal of the European Union, formerly the Official Journal of the European Communities.
The OGC also aims to make it easier for buyers to find suppliers by reducing the number of service categories from 13 to five: financial, human resources, business information and research, management and business consultancy, and IT consultancy.
By speeding up the search process, the OGC wants to make it cheaper for suppliers to bid.
· A Treasury sub-committee has criticised IT outsourcing firm EDS for its delivery of a tax credit system for the Inland Revenue.
It said applications for working tax credits were being delayed because the system was too slow, at extra cost to the department.