Select Committee on Public Accounts Twenty-First Report

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 160-163)



  160. Just permanent secretaries.
  (Mr Gershon) There have been other meetings that have brought together heads of procurement at various points. I was very specific to say permanent secretaries.

  161. On paragraph 12 of the recommendations of the NAO it says: "We held a focus group of departmental staff who commented that this was the first opportunity they had had to talk to staff in other departments and share experience and good practice in purchasing professional services."
  (Mr Gershon) Yes, in professional services.

  162. So apart from your meeting of permanent secretaries, other departmental staff at a lower level do not get together.
  (Mr Gershon) No you cannot draw that conclusion. What the report made was a specific observation that there had not been a discussion amongst departmental representatives about the specific issue of the procurement of professional services. That is the specific statement of the NAO. You cannot extrapolate from that to some general behaviour across government because it would not be correct.

  Chairman: There is a division in the House and Mr Osborne has very kindly said that he does not require more time. So it only remains for me to thank you.

Mr Williams

  163. Chairman, can I just say, Mr Gershon, that it is your first appearance and I have enjoyed it very much.
  (Mr Gershon) I did appear jointly with Sir Richard Mottram on construction procurement some time ago but this was the first time I was the sole principal witness.

  Chairman: We all thought that you warmed to your theme! Thank you very much.

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