26 May 2005 | David Arminas
A new government education purchasing body aims to make significant purchasing improvements and achieve big efficiency savings, its head has told SM.
Ian Taylor, director of the Centre for Procurement Performance at the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), said progress will be made by working alongside existing purchasing bodies.
"The centre will not dictate to purchasers in the UK's 25,000 schools, universities, colleges and institutes.
"Its role is strategic and will facilitate better procurement by those already in place throughout the education sector.
"The centre is not here to supplant organisations such as the Association of University
Procurement Officers, but we will work closely with them and others to support their activities."
The DfES has a procurement budget of "£10 billion-plus", he said.
The centre was created to help meet the efficiency savings target of 2.5 per cent a year as set out in the Gershon efficiency review.
"A key point is that this is not a cost-cutting programme and the department is not looking to claw back savings from schools and others," he said.
Other priorities include wider use of e-procurement and ensuring a greater focus on corporate social responsibility, a key area of interest for Taylor in his term as CIPS president (see Features
, 3 March).
The Sheffield-based centre has four employees at the moment but this will rise to around 20, with a mix of public and private-sector expertise.If you are involved in procurement in education, especially for schools, Ian would like to hear from you on firstname.lastname@example.org