Headlines: May 16th, 2006

The public sector spends 650m pounds per annum on print services and the Office of Government Commerce estimates that the bill can be cut by 23m pounds. Working in collaboration with other government organizations it plans to set up a Pan Government Collaborative Print Services Framework Agreement which can be used by all public bodies including agencies and non departmental public bodies. The plan involves bringing together the demand for printing and related services across central and local government and using this combined spending power to reduce the cost of buying print services. The Department for Transport will be the Contracting Authority.There are more than 100,000 buying bodies within the public sector, ranging from large central government departments such as the Department of Work and Pensions to smaller ones such as Department for Culture, Media and Sport with 60 Non Departmental Public Bodies. The Education sector has 25,000 schools, 380 further education colleges and 130 higher education institutions. The Health sector has 10,000 GP surgeries, 500 NHS Trusts and in excess on 1,000 Hospitals. In addition there is the complex Local Government structure of numerous councils plus 149 Local Education Authorities.

The public sector purchasing of print services is diverse and complex but there is no strategic procurement vision and little consistency in print procurement practice. Public bodies buy services from a great number of different suppliers, from small companies to multi- nationals. The Framework Agreement seeks to consolidate this procurement and better use the combined ‘buying power’ to deliver significant savings.