24 February 2000 | Elizabeth Bellamy
It is unlikely that a Ministry of Defence e-procurement system will be extended to weapons and other items in the department's direct spend, writes Elizabeth Bellamy.
To be launched this summer as a public-private partnership, with either Cap Gemini or EDS, the Defence Electronic Commerce Service will process "several billion pounds" worth of purchasing transactions.
The Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) will be the main user of the system, which is designed for the purchase of low-value, high-volume goods and services such as vehicle spares, IT and office equipment, as well as car hire and staff training.
The system would cut project lead times and save money, the spokesperson said, and some job losses could be expected, but these would be in line with the 500 voluntary job cuts announced last April when the DLO was formed.
The MoD, which has an annual budget of £9 billion, will also introduce a staff purchasing card this summer, John Spellar, minister for the armed forces, said this month. By April, the DLO is due to merge its army, navy and air force arms.
The MoD and NHS will be the only two government departments not directly involved with the new Office of Government Commerce.