The UK Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has delivered “commercial benefits” worth £725m to the public sector in 2016-17.
The CCS’s annual report said £12.4bn worth of common goods and services were bought through the central buying organisation, up on £11.3bn in 2015-16.
Benefits totalling £430m were achieved for central government and £295m for the wider public sector. These figures include savings but the report said more work was needed to measure the real level of savings.
“These are significant achievements but we must continue to get better at customer service and deliver more of the commercial products our customers need to drive value from their common goods and services procurement,” said the report.
“We also wish to work far more closely with our customers to ensure that they can measure actual savings realised by them as opposed to the potential benefits that we create at the point of negotiation.”
The report said the commercial benefits included a local council saving £500,000 on insurance, the Department for Transport saving more than £2.3m on the purchase of community minibuses and three NHS trusts saving more than £9m on medical locums through a CCS temporary clinical staff agreement.
The police were helped to save more than £5m on the purchase of 2,800 vehicles for 22 forces, a primary school saved £5,000 on their photocopiers and North Ayshire Council cut invoice processing by 45% through the CCS’s e-purchasing card programme.
The CCS has come in for criticism from MPs and the National Audit Office and Malcolm Harrison, CCS chief executive admitted “there is much work still to be done”.
“Having reviewed our strategy during the year, we now have a revised and much clearer purpose and scope and a more commercial focus,” he said.
The report said the government’s 32 biggest suppliers had now signed up to the Prompt Payment Code and money spent directly with SMEs via CCS frameworks totaled £879m in 2016-17, up on £702m in 2015-16.
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