Government lists £50 billion of work in procurement shake-up

By @ibtimes on

Britain said it would speed up 50 billion pounds of government spending as part of a procurement shake-up designed to ease the country's economic plight and improve how the government buys from the private sector.

The procurement changes, which aim to make it easier for private sector firms to compete for work, include a speedier and cheaper process, reduced from 200 days to 120, as well as an online list of work complete with a confidence rating to indicate the likelihood of a project going ahead.

The government is under pressure to come up with initiatives to help try to drag the country's growth levels up and also to save money at a time when it is tackling huge debts.

The online pipeline will be updated at least every six months and outlines IT and facilities management work including a 9.5 billion pound contract with the Department for Work and Pensions, an 8.5 billion pound IT deal with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and a British police force communications contract worth almost 3.8 billion pounds.

Private sector firms including Serco , Capita , Mitie and Carillion could all be set to benefit, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and joint ventures.

It is imperative that the 60 billion pounds plus Whitehall spends and the 230 billion pounds the whole public sector spends on goods and services supports UK growth and gives taxpayers better value for money, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said in a speech.

We are determined to remove the anti-UK bias in the way our public sector does its shopping. So UK based firms actually have a level playing field in which to compete.

Maude said that the current process of keeping British businesses at arms length, coupled with over reacting to fears of bias in favour of British suppliers, had hampered the country's growth and job prospects, in part paving the way for French and German domestic firms to win work.

With austerity measures biting both businesses and consumers, the Bank of England restarted its quantitative easing program last month, and predicted last week that the economy would struggle to grow at all for most of next year.

Monday's announcement follows July's Open Public Service white paper, in which the government outlined its intention to allow public services such as education, health and housing to be delivered by private sector outsourcers, joint ventures and mutuals.

A construction pipeline will be published alongside government's autumn statement and by April next year all departments will publish rolling medium term pipelines for sectors including defence, prison and probation and pharmaceuticals.

Martyn Hart, Chairman of the National Outsourcing Association (NOA), said in a statement the government had been fearful of favouring its companies for too long and welcomed the news.

This could cut months - and millions - from the costs of tender. It will light the way to faster, cheaper procurements and give SMEs chance to win much-needed government business, he said.

(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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