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Whitehall could save £10 billion a year by buying online

A Reform report on UK Government procurement suggests that up to £10 billion a year could be saved by improving the way Whitehall purchases goods and services.

The think tank report suggests that placing a greater emphasis on using an online marketplace to buy from suppliers than is currently happening could achieve significant results. It also casts doubt on whether current practices were being phased out quickly enough, as it suggests that if the growth of e-procurement continued at current levels, nearly 6 per cent would be done online, saving around £470 million a year by 2020.

The belief is that more significant savings could be achieved if Whitehall followed the example of Estonia or South Korea where e-procurement makes up 50 per cent and 64 per cent of spending respectively. In this case saving could amount to a staggering £10 billion pounds a year.

The report did suggest that the spending figures for central government departments were disputed but that the National Audit Office’s figures were around £40 billion.

Will Mosseri-Marlio, the report's co-author, said: "Transforming central government procurement could save up to £10 billion a year, three-quarters of the annual cost of the police service in England and Wales."

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "We've saved billions of pounds for taxpayers through our commercial reforms, and the Crown Commercial Service and Government Digital Service will continue to work closely together to introduce the latest innovations and ensure we get the best value from every deal."

Image source: Shutterstock/Pres Panayotov