02 February 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
The government's procurement efficiency boss has accused the public sector of "pouring" money down the drain with some departments paying up to 50 per cent more than others for the same goods.
Richard Abbott, procurement programmes director at the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), said that often consultants were being paid to do work already done for other public-sector bodies.
His comments were made in the latest edition of GCforum
, an OGC electronic newsletter for public-sector procurement managers.
Asked whether an £8 billion savings target could be reached he said: "Don't tell me what you can't do - you can't make excuses when there is money pouring down the drain. Benchmarking exercises have shown big differentials in the prices paid for goods - as much as 50 per cent. If companies are making a profit at the bottom price, what are they getting at the top? People working on similar projects are using the same consultants to give the same information - this has got to stop."
However, Abbott said he was impressed with the amount of work that had already been undertaken, describing an environment where "collaboration is actively encouraged" and where "commercial arrangements are available to an increasingly wide audience".
He added: "If you are not taking advantage of all this, then you need to explain why."