Monday 19 August 2019

Procurement office lagging behind on savings targets

Paul Quinn, the Government's chief procurement officer
Paul Quinn, the Government's chief procurement officer

Patrick Edwards

The new Office of Government Procurement is behind target on its efforts to shave costs off the Government's purchase of goods and services.

Paul Quinn, the Government's chief procurement officer, said the office was "a bit behind where we need to be".

Launched in 2013 with a target of saving €500m over three years, the department had saved €160m to the end of 2015, he said.

Quinn was speaking as the office launched a plan to save €6m a year on the Government's spending on lawyers. The new system targeted at public bodies' fees for solicitors.

Junior Finance Minister Eoghan Murphy said the Government felt that too much money was being spent by the State on legal services.

The new scheme was designed to save money "while maintaining value".

Quinn said his office was "going after the bigger chunks of spend right across the State".

"We're two-and-a-half years into this new approach around centralisation, so it will take us time to get around all this expenditure.

"But we're increasingly doing that," he added. "Early next year we'll have 100 frameworks [for saving money] in place covering well over €2bn of expenditure.

"The State spends €1m an hour on goods and services. You need to get efficiency out of that.

"It is different times, we're seeing wage inflation, we're seeing inflation in goods and services happening, the price of oil is going up it will be more challenging to deliver savings.

"But savings isn't what this is all about either.

"It's around buying smarter, putting in arrangements that drive efficiencies," Quinn added.

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