9 November 2009 | Jake Kanter
The UK government hopes to save more than £250 million by 2011 after launching an e-auction centre of excellence.
The centre will be established next year by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) to offer support across the public sector. It has been set up in response to a recommendation in HM Treasury's Operational Efficiency Programme report (news, 30 April 2009). Housed at the OGC, the e-auction centre will be run by a team of experienced buyers.
It will be able to conduct e-auctions on behalf of schools, hospitals, councils and other public sector authorities, or act in an advisory capacity to assist organisations in running their own events. In addition, the centre hopes to run two e-auctions a month on behalf of central government departments as part of the collaborative procurement agenda.
This OGC programme is designed to increase the number of cross-government deals done on food, facilities management, construction, energy, fleet, office equipment, travel, professional services and IT. The OGC aims to influence £820 million of spend by coordinating resources, supporting collaboration and working with purchasing organisations such as Buying Solutions on these areas of spend. It calculated the spend amount and £250 million savings target based on the performance of auctions run by OGC in the past.
Meanwhile, the OGC has also unveiled a new policy on the use of e-procurement in the public sector. The document recommends that technology should be used when it provides the most cost-effective way of improving data and securing value for money. Government departments are advised to read the policy and align commercial plans with its recommendations.
David Thomas, commercial director at HM Revenue & Customs and campaigner for better spend data in the public sector, welcomed the guidance. "Across the public sector I can see organisations are at very different stages of e-commerce maturity and we need this policy to help us to converge on a consistent model," he said.