Key speakers at procurement conference call on public sector to focus on efficiency

Procurement in the public sector is set to get leaner in a bid to protect front-line services in the coming spending squeeze.

Speaking today at the Procurement 2010 conference in London, economic secretary to the Treasury Ian Pearson admitted that cuts are inevitable as the UK seeks to reduce its budget deficit.

He added: “Procurement professionals can do a lot to help us on this agenda. The more we save, the more we can do to protect front-line services.”

Meanwhile, chief executive of the Office of Government Commerce Nigel Smith said “significant challenges” remained: “For example, buyers are often unable to check how much a supplier is charging different public sector organisations for the same service.”

The public sector spends £220bn a year on external goods and services, equivalent to 15% of GDP.