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Francis Maude at PASC – select committee digs into UK government procurement

Spend Matters - The UK parliament’s Public Administration Select Committee held the final hearing of their investigation into public sector procurement this week, and appropriately their witness was Francis Maude, the Minister with responsibility for the subject.

As we’ve said many times, he is more interested in and knowledgeable about procurement than any other Minister we’ve had, and his hour or so on the topic was low key in style but quite illuminating.

He got some good questioning from Bernard Jenkin, the Chair,  but some of the other Committee members were poor in terms of their lack of any real insight or challenge. Here are some of the key moments anyway.

Maude started by claiming that the Cabinet Office has saved £5.5B last year and £8B this year. Not “helped the departments to save”, we note. This is one of the things that rightly annoys officials and Ministers about Cabinet Office – the way they are taking the credit for what is really a combined effort with the budget holding departments. A lesson there for procurement people everywhere actually as well in terms of stakeholder management.