HC Deb 31 October 1996 vol 284 cc254-5W
Mr. Matthew Banks

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made in improving value for money in Government procurement. [1986]

Mrs. Angela Knight

A report by the Treasury's procurement group on progress made in Government procurement is published today.

The main developments in the procurement field in 1995–96 were the publications of the Government's procurement strategy: "Setting New Standards" (Cm 2840) and the efficiency scrutiny: "Construction Procurement in Government". These set a framework for Departments to develop forward-looking and challenging objectives.

The report provides an overview of the progress made by departments in implementing both the strategy and scrutiny—in particular: progress in developing (and implementing) procurement change programmes—designed to integrate procurement into all non-pay, non-transfer expenditure; the development of best practice guidance for handling all aspects of large service and private finance initiative contracts; the establishment of interdepartmental networks where Departments collaborate to share ideas on achieving value for money; in the construction area: the establishment of eight interdepartmental working groups to implement the scrutiny's recommendations; the introduction of a benchmarking programme: and the establishment of an external advisory panel to the central unit on procurement to provide continuity of advice, being ideas to public procurement and ensure rapid assimilation of best private sector practice.

The report also records that, in 1994–95, Departments achieved value-for-money improvements of some £112 million on a total spend of £3.2 billion—3.4 per cent.

The main message of the report is that, although significant progress has been made, much remains to be done.

Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of the House.