11 May 2010 | Lindsay Clark
During the UK election campaign, leaders of all three main political parties made much of the assumption that the public sector could save money without cutting front-line services. Such saving will be pressing for the newly formed government as it struggles to reduce the huge budget deficit.
As SM went to press the polls were still open, but procurement leaders reflected on whether the election had boosted the profile of the profession.
Fifty-six per cent of those questioned did not believe so, despite politicians rowing over whether saving on “paper clips and plant pots” would help the deficit.
Neil Dixon, procurement manager at car fleet management company LeasePlan, said: “I don’t think that there have been enough details in any of the election debates about where the benefits will come from and certainly not to highlight anything that procurement will do. The general perception is that people and service cuts (not cost savings) will make up the bulk of these efficiency savings so this has done nothing to highlight procurement.”
Edward Savage, a managing consultant with PA Consulting Group, said that although the profile of the profession had not necessarily increased, there was much work for procurement people as a result of the issues raised. “I do think the manifestos all suggest significant work for the profession post-election – especially to deliver increased cost reductions from further improving pangovernment co-operation on purchasing.”
Meanwhile, 44 per cent believed the election coverage did raise the profession’s profile. Martin Lewis, contract manager at London Underground, said: “The profile of public spending has been raised externally as media interest increases on how the incoming government will deliver savings but there has always been plenty of interest in how public money is spent.”