14 March 2008 | Paul Snell
Private sector experts are to be "parachuted' into the public sector to increase procurement-led innovation.
Under the plans the government, with the help of the CBI, will second experts from the private sector to mentor public sector buyers.
The government-sponsored measure aims to build on public sector spending power to boost UK innovation. It follows the launch of a white paper from John Denham, secretary of state for the Department for Innovation, Skills and Universities
The report said although there is currently innovative procurement approaches in some departments, such as the NHS and Ministry of Defence, "the culture has not yet taken root more generally and procuring innovative solutions has tended to be a low priority".
It added a risk-averse approach, insufficient procurement skills and an inability to measure what innovation is, were all contributing factors to this.
Other measures proposed by the paper include having each government commercial directorate draw up a plan to show how they will adopt and use new procurement methods and improve innovation.
Richard Lambert, director-general of the CBI, supported the proposals. "The obligation on each government department to produce an innovation procurement plan may well help change the culture of the civil service," he said.