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10 July 2013 | Andrew Allen
The National Audit Office has verified that £1 billion has been saved through better public procurement by the UK government’s Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG).
The ERG said by centralising spend on common goods and services and introducing policies requiring departments to purchase less, government had saved £1.02 billion.
“By centrally renegotiating large government contracts and maximising bulk buying, the Government Procurement Service (GPS) had sought to drive down suppliers’ prices,” said the ERG.
Savings had been achieved by reducing demand for civil service travel and improving prices and services for local government, schools, NHS, emergency services and charities, it added.
The NAO has backed up the government’s figures regarding procurement savings, but it has not yet assessed the accuracy of the total savings amounts claimed.
Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “While ERG has undoubtedly achieved significant savings for the taxpayer, in future it could spell out more clearly the different types of savings that are included in its claims. Our report makes detailed recommendations which will help ERG to strengthen its assurance of savings claims in future.”