David Shields leaves Government Procurement Service

22 May 2013

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22 May 2013 | Rebecca Ellinor

Government Procurement Service (GPS) managing director David Shields is to leave the position at the end of June.

The GPS was set up to provide procurement savings for the government and UK public sector, including health, education and local government. Shields, who has led the organisation since 2010, said he is proud of what has been achieved in a “relatively short time”.

In 2011-12, GPS managed public procurement spend totalling £8.4 billion, and by the end of 2012/13 increased this to more than £11 billion, against an original target of £10 billion.
Shields said: “We’ve exceeded our targets and delivered significant savings for the taxpayer. What we have achieved together will act as a platform for the next stage of reform, and I look forward to watching this success continue as I leave to take on a new challenge.”

He did not reveal what that new challenge was. His successor is government deputy CPO Sally Collier who will become acting managing director and accounting officer with immediate effect. She will be backed by Stephen Guy, and the rest of the executive management team will remain unchanged.

Government CPO Bill Crothers, who chairs the GPS, congratulated Shields and his team for achieving their 2012/13 savings targets and said he was grateful for his efforts growing “GPS into one of the largest centralised procurement operations in Europe and for vastly improving the quality of government spend data as set out in recent National Audit Office reports”. 

In an interview with SM at the end of last year Shields said the GPS had been working closely with central government departments on common areas of spend for around two years and more value could be created by bringing expenses together and managing supplies more effectively and efficiently. He added: “The public sector is huge. The phrase ‘public sector’ trips off the tongue, but it is thousands of organisations with disparate systems. It’s not easy.”

A statement by the GPS said it will continue to play an increasingly important role in an integrated commercial service offered by the Crown in the context of the procurement reform programme set out in the recent Civil Service Capabilities Plan.

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