08 December 2008 | Paul Snell
The Home Office has warned its key suppliers to "up their game" or risk losing business.
Speaking at the second supplier engagement conference, commercial director John Collington said as the department had improved its commercial performance, it was now up to vendors to match it.
"A year ago, I made an admission that we, as a buying entity, had to up our game. We think we have upped our game, but have you?"
He told SM the message to suppliers was clear: "If you fail to deliver to the Home Office your business is not guaranteed, and we've got the confidence and the courage if necessary to terminate contracts for a reason, or when those contracts expire, we're not extending, we're taking that to the market and running that competition. I think it is a whole new culture and concept and it's keeping the suppliers on their toes."
He told the vendors present many of them were "quite simply, quite frankly" not doing everything they could to support the department's projects on diversity, CSR and data handling. "We need you and if you want to be here next year and be recognised as a key supplier you're going to have to up your game as much as we have."
Stuart Rowe, deputy director - commercial, said the department had been "really disappointed" to the response of suppliers to an online survey on corporate responsibility.
Of the 371 suppliers that were sent the survey, 152 did not respond, 11 declined to answer, 153 registered but did not complete the 60 questions and only 55 completed the process.
"We were really disappointed. It was pretty woeful to be honest with you," he said.
He added the Home Office wanted to hear from suppliers what they could do for the department on sustainability, and encourage engagement from them on the topic.