The UK government has reported half-year savings of £5.4bn, with £1.8bn saved through collaborative purchasing and by using “sensible spending controls”

The Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group said departments supported by the group have saved nearly £300 million by “utilising innovative technologies and improved procurement practices” in public sector construction projects.

Financial secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid said the government is working to increase the number of SME’s competing for government contracts. “We are changing the way government does business to ensure that we are a good customer. We are creating an environment where firms feel better informed of opportunities, and where SMEs can be confident on competing on equal terms. We want to develop and manage our supply markets”. Javid went on to say “that he hoped 20 per cent of central government procurement will be with SMEs either directly or indirectly by the end of this financial year”.

This is encouraging and hopefully it will mean an increased emphasis on engaging with business, to develop more competition and in turn bring innovation into the sector. But more thought also needs to be given to the overall procurement strategy if SME’s are to be enticed. Breaking down the procurement into smaller lots, removing barriers such as turnover levels which are out of proportion to the value of contract are some examples of where improvement is needed.

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