Headlines: February 24th, 2003

The Office for Government Commerce has launched a new approach in a search for better, quicker and cheaper ways for the public sector to procure goods and services. The two pronged thrust for solutions to the high cost and long timescale weaknesses of current arrangements will involve a complete review of processes and the creation of an electronic procurement system. This new thinking results from repeated failures to provide electronic solutions for procurement. The target for central departments and agencies to procure 90% of low value goods electronically by March 2001 has still not been achieved.The OGC will join forces with the Regulatory Impact Unit’s Public Sector Team in the Cabinet Office. The Team, which is made up of secondees from private sector telecommunications, financial services and manufacturing companies, comes fresh from its success tackling red tape in the chemicals and retail sectors.

The remit for the review includes finding ways to reduce costs to both the public and private sector in the procurement process with shorter procurement time-scales. It is likely to examine the use of consultants by customers, the cost of bidding and the departmental procedures involved in such processes as advertising, pre- qualification, tender assessments, negotiation, accounting and paperwork. It will also examine departmental decision-making processes involved in the achievement of value for money. Anyone wishing to contribute ideas and suggestions for practical improvements may do so via mailto:psinfo@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk

A search for an electronic procurement system that will allow central departments and agencies to carry out online purchasing will run in parallel with the review. The expectation is that the review will produce a streamlined procurement process which will result in a less complicated user requirement.

Link: http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/regulation/business/endofyear.htm