Conservative manifesto: Procurement to drive innovation

13 April 2010

13 April 2010 | Helen Gilbert

The UK Conservative party has outlined a raft of measures to overhaul the £200 billion-a-year government purchasing market and blasted Labour for a “dreadful record of managing procurement”.

Launching his party’s election manifesto at Battersea Power Station in London today, David Cameron described how his party would stimulate enterprise and innovation by shaking up the way purchasing is carried out.

The Tory leader pledged to help small businesses and set out plans to allocate 25 per cent of government research and procurement contracts to SMEs by cutting the administrative costs of bidding.

Other promises included opening up government procurement to small and innovative businesses by publishing online all government tender documents for contracts worth more than £10,000 via the Supply2Gov website.

The Conservatives also declared they would create a level playing field for open-source information and communication technologies (ICT) in government procurement and promised to open up contracts to SMEs by breaking up large ICT projects into smaller components.

Cameron’s party attacked Labour’s approach to procurement and said it would tackle “wasteful” government projects by strengthening the role of the chief information officer, changing ICT procurement to deliver better value for money, appointing senior private sector non-executives to departmental boards, publishing government contracts for goods and services worth over £25,000 and publishing details of every UK project that receives more than £25,000 of EU funds.

The party also pledged to review the structure of the Ministry of Defence to reduce running costs by 25 per cent. The manifesto stated: “We will reform the procurement process to ensure the delivery of equipment on time and on budget. We will release spending on unnecessary and bureaucratic EU defence initiatives and spend the money on our armed forces. As part of that process, we will re-evaluate our position with the European Defence Agency.”

The UK general election takes place on 6 May.

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