The channel has slammed government plans to spend £1.5m on procurement analysis over the next 12 months to decide whether buying through large purchasing organisations (LPOs) is ultimately cheaper than using smaller suppliers.
Government body the National Procurement Programme said the number of LPOs specialising in procurement deals, such as the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO) and the North Eastern Purchasing Organisation (NEPO), which already work on behalf of the government, may be increased to save more money.
Steve Holland, director at the National Procurement Programme, told CRN that the analysis will consider the benefits of working with more LPOs in a number of key procurement areas.
“We are not damaging government procurement through SMEs,” he claimed. “We are looking to operate more effectively in key markets.”
However, Holland admitted that the LPOs typically procure products and services, on behalf of the government, directly from vendors.
“We expect this will generate £20m of procurement savings in the postal service alone,” he said. “But we also expect to be doing an awful lot more through LPOs in the IT sector.”
Kevin Drew, managing director of ISV Triangle, told CRN that the government does not realise the specialised value that smaller suppliers can bring it.
“This confuses things with Catalist greatly,” he said. “This is a typical government decision that moves left and right of its original decision and removes any clarity for suppliers.”
Darren Lewitt, divisional director at distributor Midwich, told CRN that the government should not overlook smaller suppliers just to secure the cheapest procurement deal.
“I don’t think the government really recognises the true added value that resellers can bring to a government procurement contract,” he said.
John Griffith, business development director at consultant UffindellWest, said: “The government clearly wants to get an effective procurement process going. However, small procurers don’t always get the recognition afforded to the larger procurers by the government.”
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