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Government backs recommendations for procurement system overhaul

Tue 19 Mar 2013

The government has accepted Lord Heseltine's recommendations on improving the procurement system.

Last year, the former deputy prime minister put forward 89 recommendations on what steps can be taken to drive sustainable growth and achieve a stable economy in the UK.

Lord Heseltine identified state procurement as one area where improvements are needed and suggested that an experienced chief procurement officer should be employed in every government department.

The government has now said it agrees with this suggestion and stressed its commitment to speeding up the procurement process and delivering better value for money for taxpayers.

As part of this effort, it is working to "simplify and standardise" the central government procurement framework.

Speaking following the publication of his report, Lord Heseltine stated that a growing number of leading economies around the world are currently investing in skills and building on their strengths.

This, he stated, has enabled them to grasp "larger shares of the world's wealth" at a time when the UK's ability to create wealth has "suffered".

Lord Heseltine acknowledged that there have efforts to drive growth in Britain over recent decades, but said successive governments have "failed to set out a comprehensive long-term implementation strategy to turn thought into practice".

He argued that establishing a new partnership between the public and private sectors, as well as between central government and local communities, is the key to getting Britain "back up there with the world's best" and enhancing its ability to generate wealth.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has commended Lord Heseltine for challenging "received wisdom" and for putting forward "bold ideas" on how government and industry can work more closely together.

Vince Cable, the business secretary, added that the former deputy prime minister's suggestions will enhance the country's competitiveness on a national scale and boost local growth at the same time.

Richard Tinham, partner and procurement specialist at Winckworth Sherwood, commented: "It is unfortunate that procurement is so often associated with failed projects and poor value for money, when its very existence is intended to achieve exactly the opposite ends.

"I hope the placing of senior procurement executives in each department is adopted with enthusiasm and their skills utilised to drive best value through knowledge sharing and adoption of robust procurement methods."

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