Government posts record joint buying savings

16 December 2009
16 December 2009 | Jake Kanter

The UK public sector saved a record amount through collaborative purchasing this year, according to the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

The organisation’s annual statement said by joining forces to purchase products and services, public bodies made cutbacks of £1.4 billion in 2008-09. This was compared with £650 million the year before. 

Substantial savings were made on categories including professional services, energy and ICT. 

The OGC said it would continue to promote collaboration through e-procurement, government purchasing cards and channelling spend through Buying Solutions, its commercial arm. 

It is targeting £2.2 billion of further savings in 2009-10 through increased joint buying. It falls in line with last week’s pre-budget report, which set out an efficiency savings target of £12 billion for the next four years.

The OGC also committed to ensuring 80 per cent of Whitehall spend is “understood and categorised” by April 2010 and will develop a more coordinated approach to sustainable purchasing. 

Chief executive Nigel Smith said: “A great deal of progress has been made in the last year in improving commercial and procurement practices across Whitehall and in the wider public sector. 

“Getting maximum value from government spend has never been more important than now, and the OGC is helping the public sector deliver this.”

Meanwhile, the government has increased its estimate for how much it spends a year from £175 billion to £220 billion. The revised figure includes a change in the way local government purchases are measured and the increase in public sector spending over the past two years.
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