The UK spends more than the rest of the EU combined on “bloated” procurement contracts, according to a report from the TaxPayers Alliance.
The report, Reforming public sector procurement, found that the UK published 167 contract award notices on contracts worth €100 million or above. By comparison, France published 29, Italy 25 and Germany 5.
These UK contracts are worth altogether €73.77 billion and accounted for 52 per cent of such notices published in 2015. The report said the rest of the EU combined only spends €41 billion on contracts of the same size.
And it argued that this has left the UK over-reliant on outsourcing to very large companies like Capita, Atos, G4S, and Serco.
The TaxPayers Alliance campaigns to reform taxes and reduce government spending. Policy analyst Jan Zeber, who wrote the report, said: “From staplers to warships, public procurement regularly accounts for approximately a third of total public spending. It is therefore crucial that value for taxpayers is at the heart of all public-sector purchasing decisions, no matter whether it’s a multi-million-pound military vessel or stationery for the Cabinet Office.”
It proposes a number of measures to improve procurement performance including: better post tender contract management; more generous reward structures for the highest -performing procurement professionals; and continuous opening up of the market to as many viable providers as possible.