About the Author

Ken Cole
SPS Consultancy

Ken Cole has worked in senior positions in both the public and private sectors and was one of the founding Directors of SPS in 2001. He recently completed a three year secondment as Director of the London Centre of Excellence. Ken has thrilled many public and private audiences with his incisive analysis, robust delivery and his belief in 'telling it as it is'. His blog is a regular commentary of the improvement and efficiency agenda.

Make sure you pay a frequent visit to find out Ken's latest thoughts on the workings of government, the latest policy initiatives and much more...

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Where there's a will there's a way!!

Oct 05, 2009

 

Good news coming my way is that OGC is setting up a special unit dedicated to promoting e-Auctions across the UK public sector. Some of the recent e-auctions for ICT hardware have been nothing less than spectacular in what they have achieved. E-Auction 10 succeeded in attracting some £47M worth of kit from 44 public sector bodies. Some participants gained unit cost savings of up to 40%, and a new spirit of public sector collaboration has started amongst those that took part. Even the outsource providers of various organisations are now buying directly from the contract such is the level of influence that the UK public sector can wield in many markets.

However, for quite a few others the initiative and potential savings on offer across a whole range of commodity areas through e-Auctions have not been seized. Too often excuses abound – "we are in a contract already" – "we can’t take part because of our standing orders" – "we don’t know what our future expenditure profile looks like" – "our current supplier is fine, we can’t do better". Finding reasons for not doing something, particularly on collaborative procurement is easy, but for how much longer will such reasons wash?

More observant readers will see that we have recently added the national debt widget to the SPS site. It shows in very dramatic form how quickly the UK national debt is racing towards £1 TRILLION or £1,000,000,000,000 in full. This has got to be re-paid and a fair share of it will need to come from reduced public expenditure where procurement is seen as a key contributor. I am confident that the new OGC team will make a real difference, but there has to be a will across the wider public sector for the savings to be banked. As the saying used to go, "where there is a will there is a way".

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