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Contract transparency welcome

The head of a security and facilities management contract company has welcomed a business body’s call for more transparency in public sector contracts.

The CBI points to the Government’s spend of £187 billion a year with 200,000 organisations, which in turn contribute £48.7 billion to the economy and account for over 7 per cent of GDP. Jim Bligh, CBI’s Head of Public Services said: “We know public procurement reform takes time, but progress has been painfully slow. “The Crown Commercial Service must complete its radical overhaul of the process and tackle inconsistency and poor standards. To make this happen Ministers must get behind the reform process to deliver competitive, accountable and transparent markets right across Government.”

More at the CBI blog – http://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/the-point/2014/02/progress-on-procurement-is-too-slow/

Recommendations have included publishing details of contracts online, releasing information more proactively, introducing a presumption towards open book accounting and greater structure around the audit of government contracts. The CBI points to £20 billion of central government spend lying with just 39 suppliers, and says that building a more diverse supplier base is another important strand of Coalition procurement reform. Failing to standardise procurement processes across the public sector leads to higher costs for businesses, making it more difficult for smaller firms to compete, the CBI argues. It says that the new EU Procurement Directive will help simplify many procurement processes and reduce complexity for UK firms.

The CBI estimates that the Government is only half way through its planned deficit reduction, thanks to growing tax revenue along with public spending reductions. However, the Government must continue to open up public services to independent competition to continue reducing the deficit and procure services that offer best value for money.

Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE, Chief Executive of Mitie chairs the CBI’s Public Services Board. She said: “The public services industry is proud of its contribution to the UK economy, helping to tackle the deficit, creating thousands of jobs and apprenticeships and exporting our services around the world.

“But all businesses that deliver public services need to do more to build a trusting relationship with the public and Mitie is committed to implementing the CBI’s recommendations on transparency.”


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