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Government 'lacks centralised approach to public procurement'

Tue 12 Oct 2010

The government has been encouraged to implement a more centralised public procurement system.

According to Sir Philip Green, who was commissioned by the prime minister to carry out a review on government efficiency, many departments pay very different prices for the same items.

The owner of Topshop has therefore recommended that the government adopts a more coordinated system when purchasing goods and resources.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said Sir Philip's review shows there has been "no coherent strategy" to make the state operate in a more efficient way for a long time.

He described the scale of the waste that was uncovered as "staggering".

Sir Philip added that there is no reason why the government can not be as efficient as any successful business.

Prime minister David Cameron welcomed the report, before noting that details of some of the wasted money and varying costs across government make "pretty chilling reading".

Richard Tinham, a specialist in public procurement law at Winckworth Sherwood, said: "This is not the first time reviews of public expenditure have revealed inconsistent and unnecessary expenditure.

"To some extent this has been further exacerbated by the recent trend involving public authorities putting in place framework purchase agreements intended to be capable of use by all public sector purchasing teams.

"The NAO and Audit Commission have recently highlighted that these give rise to duplication of efforts, massive overlap in sector coverage and, contrary to expectation, inefficiencies and increased costs.

"Now such practices have been highlighted it will be interesting to see how the coalition government go about resolving them.

"Winckworth Sherwood regularly advise on strategic procurement and are well placed to advise persons affected as a consequence of the review."ADNFCR-2761-ID-800112357-ADNFCR

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