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23 May 2013 | Andrew Allen
The adoption of online procurement is predicted to accelerate over the next few years to meet a European Commission objective for all public sector purchases to be made this way by June 2016.
Online platform provider Procserve made the point in an interview with SM as it announced that £1 billion of public sector purchases had been through its Amazon-style portal.
Procserve CEO Nigel Clifford said there was a clear sense of momentum within the organisation, which had seen growth year on year of 100 per cent since it was set up. In the past five years, it has processed more than 3.4 million transactions from more than 5,030 public sector organisations.More than 46 per cent of these happened in the past year.
The company estimates the system has saved more than £50 million so far.
Organisations using the service include the Department for Work and Pensions, Crown Prosecution Service, NHS Wales and Borough of Poole.
Clifford said two major turning points were when police forces in England and Wales adopted the service, as well as Wales in general. So far, 20 forces have been cleared to use it and are sourcing handcuffs, stab vests and more generic products in this way. “As well as more users, we’ve been getting more usage,” Clifford said.
He said the organisation had worked hard to assuage security concerns by working with government security experts and hoped to achieve greater adoption from central government in future “where it isn’t yet universal”. He also said local government outside Wales is “particularly untouched”.
Clifford said the system had helped SMEs gain access to tenders and has facilitated more collaborative working between departments and across geographies.