Pooling ideas on spend

31 August 2010
At the risk of sounding preoccupied with the UK public sector, we can’t ignore developments of the past few weeks. The Audit Commission is to be scrapped, 44,000 cost-saving ideas have been posted on the UK Spending Challenge website, and two big hitters have been appointed to spearhead the latest efficiency effort. John Collington, now former Home Office commercial director, was expected to take up his post as head of procurement in the Cabinet Office’s new Efficiency and Reform Group yesterday. And Sir Philip Green, the chief of clothing retailer Arcadia Group, has been asked by prime minister David Cameron to lead an external review of government spending. Collington tells us he will mandate collaborative buying while also seeking consensus between Whitehall buying teams. And Green, too, is a proponent of centralised procurement. He believes there’s a huge opportunity to save money and thinks the whole purchasing process needs to speed up. He’s not alone. Many public and private sector buyers expressed this frustration in response to Dave Henshall’s posting on the SM blog, entitled “Should government abandon the OJEU?. You can read it and log your own comments here: tinyurl.com/ojeudebate I watch all these developments in the public sector with great interest both professionally and personally (as a taxpayer), and wonder if the government has also looked at the example of other countries, such as the cuts made in the public sector in Canada in the 1990s. There’s some good news for those in the private sector as the recruitment freeze appears to be melting and opportunities in procurement are picking up. Lastly, the SM team is looking forward to the CIPS Supply Management Awards next week. If you won’t be there, sign up to follow developments on Twitter on the night  ar twitter.com/steve_bagshaw. Rebecca Ellinor is deputy editor of Supply Management (rebecca.ellinor@supplymanagement.com)
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