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24 July 2013 | Will Green
A new centralised government procurement department called the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has been announced today.
The CCS will take on £10 to £12 billion of central government spending on a range of goods and services from energy to IT.
The department aims to make savings of £1 billion and will “work with departments and wider public sector organisations to ensure maximum value for the taxpayer is extracted from every commercial relationship”.
The moves follows a report by MPs on the Public Administration Select Committee published last week which called for greater centralisation of government procurement and contract management.
Bill Crothers, the government’s chief procurement officer, said: “Government should be an excellent customer. We spend around £45 billion on buying goods and services, and need to make the most of this extraordinary buying power.
“The Crown Commercial Service will ensure we act as a true single customer: buying the essentials for the whole of government in the most efficient way possible, while freeing up departments to focus their procurement expertise on what is unique to them.
“The result will be more savings, an increase in the quality of the commercial service to government, and a sustainable approach to our commercial procurement activity which will benefit the whole of the public sector.”
The CCS is expected to be up and running in the autumn and builds on the evolution of the Government Procurement Service over the last few years. It will procure professional services, facilities management, office supplies and other goods and services.
Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “This government’s commercial reforms have already saved the taxpayer £3.8 billion. But hard-working families expect us to go further.
“The new Crown Commercial Service will ensure a step change in our commercial capability, giving government a much tighter grip on all aspects of its commercial performance, from market engagement through to contract management.”