26 September 2007 | Paul Snell
The recent procurement capability review at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was "enormously helpful", according to Sir Leigh Lewis, its permanent secretary.
Speaking at a CIPS Fellows event in London yesterday evening, Sir Leigh said the scrutiny of his department's procurement strength had been useful because he does not have a background in procurement.
"It was enormously healthy for the team," he said. "It was helpful to me as to some extent I have to take on trust the knowledge and experience that the procurement team provides on how we are performing."
He said departments had to be "extremely brave" to undertake the reviews, carried out by a team from the OGC. He likened them to the full departmental reviews carried out in 2006 by Sir Gus O'Donnell. "It is not an altogether comfortable experience," he said. "But an amazingly cathartic and helpful one. It forced us to confront issues that had been left dormant and face up to problems."
The DWP, which volunteered for the assessment, took part in the second wave of reviews, following the pilot carried out at the former Department for Education and Skills in March. The reviews report on a department's level of purchasing skills, knowledge and processes.