14 April 2011 | Angeline Albert
The UK government has appointed a team of purchasing
gatekeepers to centrally manage the relationship with its 36 major suppliers.
CabinetOffice minister Francis
Maude announced yesterday that the government’s relationship with its key
suppliers will be improved following the appointment of nine ‘crown representatives’
who will ensure it acts as a single customer and achieves more value for money.
Seven procurement professionals drawn from government
departments and two buyers from the private sector form the new group tasked
with stopping departments from each signing their own contracts with the same suppliers
without any central control. They will be responsible for delivering the £800
million efficiency savings identified for 2010/11 following contract renegotiations
with the major providers.
Maude said: “We
need better, more efficient relationships with suppliers over the long term.
The value of a single representative, acting on behalf of all departments,
became apparent during the contract renegotiations.”
The group will
closely collaborate with departments to oversee significant contract awards to these
key suppliers and offer advice using their knowledge of a supplier’s
performance across its portfolio of government contracts. It will also develop
emerging providers to foster greater competition and create cross-government
The seven representatives
Each representative is
responsible for the relationship with several of the government’s largest
suppliers and takes on the extra role from this month.
private sector buyers Stephen Allott who, as
reported by SM,
became the crown representative for SMEs in February and Stephen Kelly who was
hired to support the mutualisation of public services on 4 April. This last
post is in line with a plan to enable public sector staff to take control of the ownership
and governance of the organisations they work for, which could see them forming
a mutual and awarded contracts to continue providing services.
The representatives will manage the government’s
relationship with 36 suppliers – Accenture, Amey, Atkins, Atos Origin, Airwave,
Balfour Beatty, Babcock, BT, Cable & Wireless, Capgemini, Capita,
Carillion, Cisco, CSC, Detica, Fujitsu, G4S, Global Crossing, GEO, Hewlett
Packard, IBM, Interserve, Logica, Microsoft, MITIE, Oracle, Royal Mail Group,
SAP, Serco, Siemens, Sodexo, Steria, Telereal Trillium, Vodafone, Vertex and
* The Cabinet office also announced yesterday that six entrepreneurs have been appointed to help small businesses present business proposals to supply the government to a “Dragons’ Den” style panel.
SMEs have until 22 April to submit proposals to the Innovation Launch Pad, explaining how their innovative and cost-saving products would benefit the government. Civil servants will then vote on the ideas and the chosen SMEs will present their proposals to a panel of senior government officials, following coaching from the entrepreneurs.