OGC: 'Public sector buyers now have more commercial nous'

30 September 2009

1 October 2009 | Allie Anderson

Greater commercial expertise exists in UK government purchasing as a result of the first wave of procurement capability reviews (PCRs), according to the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

The PCRs were launched in 2007 to examine purchasing practices and know-how in 16 major central government departments. The progress report published today by the OGC outlines improvements that have been made since the final tranche of PCR findings were published in March.

It said departments have implemented comprehensive PCR improvement plans, mapped out targets including more collaborative procurement and now have better category management. Purchasing has been pushed further up the strategic agenda within departments - shown by increased consideration given to procurement at board level - and the PCRs have resulted in increased commercial expertise within government.

The OGC report went on to say more senior commercial staff have been appointed and departments have produced a commercial strategy or are in the process of doing so. There is also increased buyer development and reduced dependence on consultants.

The second round of PCRs will adopt a self-assessment model and focus more on benchmarking, key performance indicators and performance measurement to back up the results seen in phase one (News, 2 April 2009), the OGC said.

The Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Communities and Local Government will pilot the new approach, which will begin in the autumn and is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

Meanwhile, the OGC also announced that the number of deals available on its contracts database had increased by 60 per cent in the past year. The portal gives public sector buyers access to collaborative, cost-saving contracts. It now contains 400 deals, and interest in the site has grown by an average of 30 per cent annually since its launch in 2006.

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