03 January 2008 | Paul Snell
The BBC is on target to deliver efficiency savings of £75 million by March.
According to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) into the procurement function, the corporation had significantly improved the way it buys goods and services.
The NAO said the corporation has exceeded its savings targets over the past two years, with £10 million saved in 2005-06 and £27 million in 2006-07, and an overall £75 million would be achievable across three years.
The auditors were also positive about the veracity of the savings, which were supported by a clear audit trail and reviewed by a member of the BBC finance team.
Annual procurement spend at the BBC was £531 million last March.
The audit also highlighted the BBC's clear procurement strategy and its CIPS Gold accreditation, awarded to the corporation in 2005.
Spending through central contracts increased by 21 per cent between 2005-06 and 2006-07, from 40 per cent of spend to 61 per cent. Production staff on EastEnders and Doctors praised the time these contracts saved them.
The NAO also recognised the corporation's difficulty in retaining staff in a competitive environment.
It recommended that the BBC set up a clear career progression for buyers and provide opportunities for professional development.
Although the BBC carries out sustainable procurement, particularly in its evaluation of tenders, the NAO said the function should draw up a written policy to achieve its objectives.
Beverley Tew, director for procurement and revenue management at the BBC, told SM
the corporation was already working towards this.