The billionaire businessman and owner of Topshop was asked by the Prime Minister to conduct an efficiency review of government spending, with a focus on commodity procurement, property and major contracts.
The published report reveals the extent of the government’s failure to leverage both its credit rating and scale.
In his key findings, Sir Philip highlights the fact that basic commodities are bought at different prices across different government departments. He observed that there is no mandate for centralized procurement and revealed that procurement data is both inconsistent and hard to get at.
Sir Philip identified that procurement cards do not allow Government to control or monitor spend efficiently. They are used where there is no procurement system to purchase low value commodities such as travel and office supplies.
The review revealed that there are 71,000 central Government buyers, the majority of which have a monthly spending limit of up to £1,000, although this is not monitored.
Sir Philip called for authorization of all transactions.
Other recommendations include mandating centralized procurement for common categories, producing accurate spend and consumption data, and pricing common items at the same level for all central Government departments.
He believes there is no reason why public sector thinking should be any different from the private sector.
For more on public sector procurement, read Supply Chain Digital’s feature What is the Future of Public Sector Procurement?
Edited by Darrel Moore