17 October 2005 | Geraint John at the CIPS Premier Conference in London
Contracting projects out of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is at the heart of its efforts to meet Gershon efficiency review targets.
David Smith, commercial director at the DWP, which has an annual procurement spend of more than £4 billion, said that it had made great strides in areas such as market awareness, supplier appraisal and whole-life costing. But he added that with its "value for money" targets doubling from 5 to 7 per cent a year to around 15 per cent, "more of the same will not be enough".
He told delegates that outsourcing was a counterpoint to the "haphazard, overstaffed" way things had traditionally been run in-house.
A commercial awareness programme for the top 200 civil servants in the department and a two-page "make or buy?" policy signed off by the secretary of state were two signs of a shift in approach, he said.
Over the past 10 years, the department has carried out major outsourcing deals in IT, property, office services, print and distribution, and record storage and retrieval.
Smith said that logistics, which he described as "a bugger's muddle", was likely to be next.
Asked whether procurement itself should be outsourced, Smith replied: "The jury's out on that."