19 August 2010 | Angeline Albert
The UK government is asking the public to vote on savings ideas posted by public sector staff with a view to implementing those with the most potential.
Purchasing practices are among the areas highlighted in 44,000 cost-saving ideas posted on the UK Spending Challenge website during the past month.
On this site, where ideas can also be rated, one worker called not only for the establishment of a central procurement framework for each key category of spend, such as IT, estates and travel, but also that contracts for these categories be managed centrally by one team.
In relation to third-party procurement portals used by the public sector, another respondent said: “Many are structured in such a way that the first round of data requested from bidders does not include fundamental measures such as likely price for services. Some portals ask absolutely nothing about supplier experience until the second round.”
They suggested the government make it easier for small firms to compete by preventing first-round exclusion on the basis of organisation size and ensuring tender portals give potential suppliers a chance to highlight experience and whether they believe they can save the public sector money.
Another called for a renegotiation of IT deals, describing the contracts as poor with regards to the rates charged. “I know of an instance where a contract was negotiated and the supplier charged over £12,000 to make textual changes – which they then inputted incorrectly and then recharged again. Amends should be inbuilt into contracts so they do not get charged for in this way. Similarly where they charge to give quotes – this process should be scrapped so we can get a better service from suppliers.”
These are just a handful of the ideas the government is asking the public to give a rating of one to five stars to (one for poor and five for excellent). At the end of August, ideas will be reviewed and those with the most potential will be put into action.