Public AdministrationWritten evidence submitted by Mediareach (PROC 12)

I am writing to comment about the Cabinet Office procurement effectiveness as requested:

1. Cabinet Office was handed the procurement exercise and was asked to select agencies too quickly. The office did not have enough qualified staff to undertake such a large exercise (selecting advertising agencies is not in any way like buying paper clips or computers so you can choose based on price or specs), this has led Cabinet Office to offer jobs to ex-COI staff who had more experience to join them. I still think the process in part was good as it eliminated quite a number of suppliers but it lacked in other parts (eg looking at the ONS figures and the rise of ethnic communities in Britain who were targeted in the past, we see that the procurement staff failed to select any specialist multicultural agency on the roster).

2. The strategic aim of the government would be to select relevant quality suppliers who will deliver cost effective solutions across all government departments.

3. In part the government does have some skills but it lacks on negotiation skills as it could still negotiate better deals than what it does now (Our agency have always been allowed by the COI to buy media for the government as our rates is always cheaper than all other agencies, a fact that the new procurement process neglected in favour of few large agencies).

4. Take on some staff from the commercial sector on project basis to help government negotiate and buy better.

5. It is being developed but need to do more.

6. The government collects some information but I am not sure if the information is used to improve effectiveness.

7. Prime contractors could work if they subcontract 75%+ of the contract to smaller suppliers and do not just keep the contract themselves as it transpired by the companies that managed the Olympic bidding.

If you need further information do let me know.

January 2013

Prepared 18th July 2013