Government can make substantial savings from buying common goods and services centrally, but the results of the government’s latest attempt to do so have been disappointing. Since its set-up in April 2014, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has failed to consistently deliver quality services to departments, and progress with centralising procurement has been slow. It experienced severe difficulties with the programme to transfer procurement from departments to CCS which was halted twice. As a result, CCS is only managing £2.5 billion of spend on common goods and services on behalf of seven departments instead of the £13 billion on behalf of all 17 departments as was predicted in 2014. CCS still has to develop a full business case and demonstrate how it will add value to departments. This is the latest failure we have looked at of the Cabinet Office attempting to centralise services. It needs to learn the lessons and ensure departments buy in to what it is trying to do.
22 March 2017