22 January 2004 | David Arminas
The new head of service at the Research Councils' Procurement Organisation (RCPO) wants to improve training and knowledge of best practice at the central purchasing service for the six government research councils.
Mike Wilson-Jarvis said the RCPO would also focus on working more with central government's procurement advisory body, the Office of Government Commerce, as well as purchasing consortia in higher education.
"We believe we can offer better value for money. One way to do this is to improve the skills of our people," he said.
Wilson-Jarvis, who joined the RCPO this month, spent nearly three years at Oxfam as its first head of strategic supply, where his budget was £80 million.
"Oxfam wanted to improve the organisation's purchasing effectiveness through developing central guidelines for people at the coalface," he said.
This was done by better training of staff, many of whom work in the field overseas and who are responsible for project buying.
"It was rewarding to raise their skills, and this experience will help me at the RCPO," said Wilson-Jarvis. He also introduced the CIPS graduate diploma course for Oxfam staff.
Before Oxfam, Wilson-Jarvis worked at the NHS Logistics Authority, which supplies consumable products to the NHS.
The RCPO was created in 2001 and has an annual budget of £220 million.
Six of the seven government research bodies are members of the organisation.
These six are the councils for particle physics and astronomy research; natural environmental research; biotechnology and biological sciences research; medical research; engineering and physical sciences research; and economic and social research.