20 July 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
Procurement minister John Healey has called on the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) to explore centralised purchase of certain commodities.
The financial secretary to the Treasury, who is also responsible for the OGC, made the announcement at the Government Procurement Service conference in London last week.
He called on procurement professionals to "rationalise, aggregate and outsource requirements where possible," and said: "I've asked OGC deputy chief executive Peter Fanning to do a study and report to me by the autumn on the range of commodities, goods and services suitable."
Fanning will look at the purchase of print, energy, fleet, temporary labour and construction commodities in the first wave of 54 categories being examined. He will look at whether efficiencies could be achieved through a single sourcing strategy - either a single contract or a single specification - across the public sector for these areas.
Fanning told SM
: "One of the biggest categories is people, and if you're going to make a big saving you need to go after the big categories and see what can be done. I've got to do the study first but we know where the big numbers are so we'll go after them."
Fanning said 80 per cent of commodity spend is across five government departments and local government.
He intends to work with Steve Holland, director of the East of England Regional Centre of Excellence as the representative of local government. As reported in SM
(News, 6 July
), Holland is already examining whether the £38 billion procurement budget of local government could be better spent and plans to produce a national plan on the purchase of commodities in October.
Healey also expressed disappointment at the lack of take up on e-auctions, which he said he would take a long, hard look at.