18 March 2011 | Lindsay Clark
Procurement staff at HMRevenue & Customs (HMRC) have been offered assurances that they will escape
the worst of central government job cuts.
Speaking to SM at
this week’s Public Sector Efficiency Expo 2011,
HMRC commercial director David Thomas said his procurement team could expect to
avoid job losses because the headcount had already been cut by around 40 per
cent since he joined in 2006.
“I knew what a £2 billion spend organisation should look
like. I knew what I had got, and when you put the technology in, it should look
like this in terms of numbers – and we’re not far off that now. We made the
cuts very early…. we’re not looking to cut into the core of the procurement
teams any more,” said Thomas.
Furthermore, the HMRC commercial team is taking on
management of three of the nine centrally managed Whitehall categories for the
Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group. “We’re very actively supporting
the centralised commodity procurement process,” Thomas said. “Of the nine
streams that [ERG head of procurement] John Collington has established, I am
personally leading on three.”
These are print services, office supplies, and learning and
“We’re not only doing our own bit, we’re also using our
skills to help that programme as well,” added Thomas.
Other Whitehall procurement teams, however, will face job
David Smith, commercial director at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP),
told SM that his business plan
included a reduction. “There will be very few parts of the corporate centre in
any part of the public sector that will be immune…and the procurement function
needs to continue to raise its game to make its contribution.”
He said the DWP was still working through plans for cuts to
the procurement team but said it would be between 25 and 40 per cent.
Andrew Croston, head of procurement and commercial at the
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said he did not expect there to be any redundancies from his core
team, although there may be a reduction in headcount from some of the
peripheral Defra buying teams, in some cases as a result of halting recruitment.
He said Defra had 15 purchasing organisations, which serve
40 to 50 organisations. In future this work will be split across two
procurement teams, which will become centres of excellence, he said.