24 January 2014 | Will Green
The government says it has cut the amount of time it takes to complete public procurements in the UK by 40 per cent to “around 100 working days”.
The Cabinet Office said this was less than the time taken for procurements in France and Germany, following criticism that UK processes were “slow and bureaucratic”.
The CO was responding to a report by the Public Administration Select Committee, published in July 2013, which criticised progress on centralising procurement and the commercial skills of civil servants, claiming public procurements took 50 per cent longer than France or Germany.
The CO said: “Cabinet Office has stripped out wasteful practices in the operation of EU procurement procedures, and has established the use of lean business improvement techniques, resulting in new, more efficient procurement standards.
“Due to these reforms, the average turnaround time of regulated OJEU procurements from advert to contract award has decreased by over 40 per cent to around 100 working days.”
The CO said this compared to 133 days in France and 121 days in Germany.
Meanwhile, the Crown Commercial Service has been established and reporting lines strengthened between departmental commercial directors and CPO Bill Crothers to address criticism that the government had “failed to set out a clear strategy for public procurement”, said the CO.
The CO said that in November 2013 it had launched “a programme to improve commercial skills targeted at the senior civil service, particularly those in predominantly policy or non-commercial roles who are still involved in managing or overseeing contracts. The programme has been designed to equip civil servants with a greater appreciation of commercial disciplines and how they should be used to drive improved decision making and outcomes”.
The CO added: “Following a successful pilot, the Cabinet Office is rolling out a Commissioning Academy for senior commissioners of services in the public sector.”