15 December 2005
The Office of Government Commerce will crack down on government departments that fail to take up the best deals.
Speaking exclusively to SM
, David Rossington, director of the OGC's efficiency programme, said it would challenge those not applying best practice.
He said the OGC would work "relentlessly" to ensure £21.5 billion of efficiency savings are secured by 2008 and added there were "clear mechanisms" in place to deal with rogue departments.
"The first thing is to have a chat about it and work with the department in a collaborative way," he said. "If there are still issues, the department has ministers and secretaries of state and we are in contact with both, so there are plenty of ways to make issues visible." SM
spoke to Rossington after the latest efficiency savings figures were announced by chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown in his pre-budget speech last week. Brown said that between April and September this year - six months into a three-year drive to hit targets set by the Gershon review - £4.7 billion of savings had been realised. Procurement's contribution to the current total is £1.9 billion.
Brown also announced that the OGC had already reached its own efficiency target of £3 billion value-for-money savings a year early.
But Rossington said he would not become complacent. "Delivery is a long, hard slog and having started this well we've got to keep going pretty relentlessly," he said.
However, the following day a report from the Commons public accounts committee (PAC) slammed the government for a decade of inefficiencies and failure to learn from mistakes.
Rossington said the issues raised were not "black or white" but that the OGC would look at them "very seriously".
"Some of the projects are inherently tricky - some of the biggest and most challenging around. Sometimes things are not going to go right. The important thing is to share knowledge and tackle things in a sensible way," he said.