Public sector buyers on front line of deficit battle, says CIPS chief

13 May 2010

13 May 2010 | Lindsay Clark

Procurement can lead the way as the newly formed Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government strives to slash the UK’s £163 billion budget deficit, according to CIPS chief executive David Noble.

More than one-quarter of CIPS members work in the public sector, he said. “They will be looking to us to lead the way and to support us in highlighting the value of procurement at this challenging time.

“As the void in our government has now been filled, thoughts will turn to the public deficit, and with an urgency experienced by the parties at the weekend during their coalition talks.”

However, he said procurement roles should not be included in the cuts to public sector back-office functions the Conservatives promised before the election. “Procurement can no longer be seen as a back-room function. Skilled and trained procurement and supply chain professionals can bring real efficiency savings and value,” Noble said.

 “The time to act is now and with £6 billion-worth of cuts announced by the Conservatives, it's crucial that this is done in a speedy way, but without rushing to make decisions.”

Collaborative procurement is key to achieving the overall package of £15 billion in savings in a sensible way, Noble said. “A procurement minister or tsar is needed to ensure the public sector procures more efficiently and collaboratively. By using best practice frameworks and techniques this should even go beyond the £15 billion target."

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