23 September 2009 | Jake Kanter
UK public sector purchasers must become more forceful to help the government cut costs, according to KPMG.
A report published yesterday on public sector spending said the government must stop "playing with numbers" and maintain absolute clarity over cashable savings.
It said public buyers have "a lot to learn" from contract management and supplier development in the private sector. Savings must be driven through renegotiating contracts with suppliers, it added.
"The current approach to improving efficiency in the public sector is too narrow and insufficiently aggressive to deliver the savings that will be required over the next Spending Review period," the report said.
"It will be essential to avoid the kind of playing with numbers that occurred in the wake of the Gershon review. We will need absolute clarity about cash and non-cash items, which means sorting out the public sector balance sheet in a way that has not been attempted to date."
It urged public bodies to take a "cold, hard look" at where they spend money and make difficult decisions about priorities.
The review is published amid a tide of scrutiny on public sector spending. All three of the UK's major political parties have highlighted areas of cuts in the past month, including defence procurement and major IT programmes.