Oct 11, 2010
It is not out yet, but we all await with interest the publication next week of Sir Philip Green's report on government procurement. The political spin machines have already been warming us all up with tales of bloated bureaucrats, working 9 til 5, wasting taxpayers' money and shock horror paying different prices for photocopier paper - real budget reduction stuff!
Putting aside the sound bites that will get Daily Mail readers into a rage, one quote fromReuters was spot on and no person who understands public sector procurement would seek to dissent:
"The conclusion of this review is clear -- credit rating and scale in virtually every department has not been used to make government spending efficient," said Green. "There is no reason why Government should not be as efficient as any good business."
However, the second thing that struck me was that this was exactly the same thing that Lord Rayner reported to Mrs Thatcher and Sir Peter Gershon to Tony Blair and Martin Jay to Gordon Brown. As well as the private sector gurus there have been at least six procurement reviews since 1984, all of which have uncovered the same things as Sir Philip Green. . So why has nothing changed? What will make this report any different from those that have gone before it?
That, to me is the far more interesting question for debate, rather than Sir Philip’s latest discovery.