Research councils take on £4 billion government spend

28 January 2013

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28 January 2013 | Anna Reynolds

The Research Councils UK Shared Services Centre (RCUK SSC) is to manage £4 billion of government spend on construction, research and facilities management projects as part of an agreement with the Government Procurement Service (GPS).

GPS expects to make annual savings of 10 per cent through this use of category management and consolidation of spend.

Nicola Dunne, chief procurement officer at RCUK, told SM: “We are bringing the capacity of the workforce operating a commercial share [managing procurement activity] into the centre, which is key to tackling the country’s deficit problem.”

The RCUK SSC and GPS are also working together to provide strategic procurement support for government departments to assist in the delivery of high value or complex procurements.

Dunne, who currently heads up a team of 70, added she might have to expand her team slightly to take on the extra volume of work.

The move is part of recommendations proposed by the Public Expenditure Efficiency and Reform Group in December 2011. These include centralising procurement of common goods and services, delivering sustainable savings through aggregation of spend within appropriate centres of excellence, and developing a more efficient and transparent procurement service to better manage spend.

David Shields, GPS managing director, said in a statement: “This agreement demonstrates our shared commitment to working in partnership to deliver cost savings that benefit the whole of the public sector. This is an important step in the delivery of both the procurement and civil service reform programme, which supports the drive to channel spend though aggregated arrangements to increase savings. It will also help streamline procurement resource across government, improving efficiency.”

The RCUK Shared Services Centre was launched in 2011 by the seven UK Research Councils to combine back office functions.

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