Purchasers reject Gershon plans

12 May 2004
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13 May 2004

Most procurement professionals are convinced that Sir Peter Gershon's proposal for more centralised government purchasing will deliver neither cost savings nor improved efficiency.

An online poll by SM has revealed that 52 per cent of respondents thought that the review was likely to fail in its objectives against 42 per cent who said that they thought it would achieve better efficiency and cost savings. The remainder of the 146 voters said they did not know if the review would achieve its aims.

Gershon's efficiency review aims to save £20 billion and cut costs by up to 38 per cent in central government departments.

The poll results were backed this week by Digby Jones, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, who expressed "deep-seated scepticism" about the plans.

Jones said he also feared crude cost-cutting and cosmetic reform rather than a real transformation of services. In a submission to the Treasury, the CBI said the plans lacked detail with "woefully inadequate" public-sector performance data hampering reform.

The CBI also claimed that shifting spending from back-office functions to front line services would mean reclassification of many functions, and plans to aggregate services would not work without redesigning the way businesses and the public received services.

See our new poll on the SM home page


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