Headlines: September 1st, 2000

Vodofone has secured a two year deal to provide mobile phone services to 100,000 users in public services for the next two years. The deal extends cross central and local government and the health service and it includes tariff reductions and access to new technology.This is the first public sector wide contract to be negotiated by the newly formed Office for Government Commerce and it is claimed that it will deliver savings to the taxpayer of some 38 million pounds over two years.

In 1999 Peter Gershom produced a report on Government procurement which revealed that the potential leverage of large scale purchasing was not being used because of the practice of individual organisations making their own arrangements. He recommended a shift to centralised contract negotiation and the setting up of the Office for Government Commerce. He now heads the Office and this deal shows how purchasing muscle can be used to deliver savings. It is believed that deals are also being negotiated for electricity, gas and water