Office of Government Commerce
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Chief Secretary to the Treasury announces publication of action plan to mobilise public procurement in support of economic growth

Chief Secretary to the Treasury has yesterday announced the publication of an action plan setting out how the Government will harness the £220 billion spent by the public on third party goods and services to support growth and economic recovery.

The plan, published by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), reveals how procurement will be used to pursue economic growth through three specific agendas of supporting small and medium-sized enterprises; encouraging apprenticeships, training and youth employment; and reducing carbon emissions. 95% of contracts are won by UK businesses, and ensuring this money helps support the UK's small businesses, our drive to improve skills and to tackle climate change will be vital to our economic future.
The plan also includes the announcement of a voluntary charter to be established between Government and key suppliers to further assist in delivering on these priorities.

Progress will be supported and monitored by the OGC through the introduction of performance metrics, against which all departments will be expected to report regularly, starting in spring 2010.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne MP said:

"Government spends £220 billion on goods and services, 95 per cent of which goes to British firms.

"As well as maximising value for money, the OGC's plans will make sure that Government procurement spending supports our small and medium-sized enterprises, encourages apprenticeships and better skills and reduces carbon emissions. 

"Government spending power will help to lock in the recovery by providing support and investment to the businesses up and down the country."

The plan, which the Government announced in the 2009 Pre-Budget Report, sets out future milestones including the creation of practical help for procurers to assess which priorities should apply, additional guidance and training programmes for procurement practitioners, and consultation with wider public sector organisations on how to apply the action plan more widely.

The Policy Through Procurement Action Plan can be downloaded via the OGC's website.

Notes to editor

About Policy Through Procurement Action Plan
The plan provides additionally harnessing of public procurement to deliver key policy agendas concerned with fair and sustainable economic growth and recovery, which the Government announced in the 2009 Pre-Budget Report.

The key agendas that Government intends to pursue as PtP priorities are:

  • small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - lowering barriers to their participation, including third sector organizations;
  • supporting skills training, providing apprenticeship opportunities and tackling youth unemployment;
  • and resource efficiency focusing on carbon reduction.

At the same time, public authorities will need to be innovative in their procurement practices and to engage suppliers in developing innovative, high quality and cost-effective solutions to the delivery of works, services and goods.

The Action Plan focuses on the policy agendas that Government has identified as priorities to be delivered through procurement.  Alongside these priorities, public sector organisations, in line with current legal requirements, have a responsibility to consider equalities as part of every procurement. Equality is a fundamental principle of fair and effective Government. Equality is relevant to a certain extent in every procurement, and should be an underlying consideration when Government Departments determine how to deliver their PtP commitments.  Further work will be done to promote equality through procurement by means of the Equality Bill and proposed specific duties. A suitable performance metric to monitor progress will be developed.

Departments will still on a case-by-case basis either need to take forward other agendas, e.g. the Government's timber policy when buying furniture or be able to do so e.g. Fair Trade food and drink.

About the OGC

The OGC is an independent office of HM Treasury, established to help Government deliver best value from its spending. The OGC works with central Government departments and other public sector organisations to ensure the achievement of six key goals:

  • Delivery of value for money from third party spend;  
  • Delivery of projects to time, quality and cost, realising benefits; 
  • Getting the best from the Government's £30bn estate; 
  • Improving the sustainability of the Government estate and operations, including reducing carbon emissions by 12.5% by 2010-11, through stronger performance management and guidance; 
  • Helping achieve delivery of further Government policy goals, including innovation, equality, and support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs); 
  • And driving forward the improvement of central Government capability in procurement, project and programme management, and estates management through the development of people skills, processes and tools.

OGC provides policy standards and guidance on best practice in procurement, projects and estate management, and monitors and challenges departments' performance against these standards, grounded in an evidence base of information and assurance. It promotes and fosters collaborative procurement across the public sector to deliver better value for money and better public services; and it provides innovative ways to develop Government's commercial and procurement capability, including leadership of the Government Procurement Service.

Media contact:
Michael Dunning, Media Relations Manager, OGC
T: 020 7271 1318
M: 07771 815245

Contact details:
OGC Service Desk
Tel: 0845 000 4999

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