Press release

Government appoints Chief Procurement Officer to cut waste

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude has announced that John Collington will become the first Chief Procurement Officer for all of government.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude has announced that John Collington will become the first Chief Procurement Officer for the whole of government.

The appointment marks a significant change to government procurement and paves the way for a radical transformation of how government manages the procurement of common goods and services.

The Chief Procurement Officer will be responsible for delivering the government’s goal of centralising procurement. He will ensure that the Crown receives the best value for money by acting as a single customer, rather than separate departments, when buying commonly used goods and services, such as energy and office supplies.

John Collington was, until now, the Head of Procurement in the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group. As Chief Procurement Officer, he will be responsible for the delivery of more efficient procurement across Government and improving procurement capability.

The need for government to be more efficient was highlighted in October 2010, by Sir Philip Green’s Efficiency Review, which found that government had failed to make the most of its scale, buying power and credit rating. In addition to his existing responsibilities, he will take on responsibility for the transformation and operational delivery of the Government’s procurement agency, Buying Solutions.

Francis Maude also announced today that David Smith, Commercial Director at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), will additionally take on the role of Deputy Chief Procurement Officer for Government. David will take on the role alongside his current responsibilities at DWP.

David was last week also appointed a Crown Representative, responsible for managing relationships with some of Government’s key suppliers. The Crown Representatives will manage delivery of the cost savings agreed through the renegotiation of contracts with key suppliers, as government seeks to achieve better value by acting as a single customer. The renegotiation of key contracts has saved the government £800m so far since May 2010.

Francis Maude said:

I am delighted that John Collington has agreed to take on the position of Chief Procurement Officer.  This new role will allow him to drive real transformation in government procurement, which in turn will realise significant savings for the taxpayer.

John Collington said: 

It is both an honour and privilege to be appointed as government’s first Chief Procurement Officer. I look forward to working with David and my other commercial and procurement colleagues across Government in delivering our ambitious plans to transform government procurement.

Notes to editors

  1. The Chief Procurement Officer is a new position based within the Efficiency and Reform Group in the Cabinet Office and will report to the Chief Operating Officer, Ian Watmore. The role merges two existing positions of Head of Procurement in the Cabinet Office and Chief Executive of Buying Solutions, with a consequent saving to the taxpayer. 
  2. John Collington joined the Efficiency and Reform Group in September 2010 as Head of Procurement. Before that, he was Group Commercial Director of the Home Office with responsibility for transforming how the Department manages its annual £2.4 billion expenditure on goods and services. Before joining Government in 2007, John spent 23 years in the private sector in a number of senior commercial and supply chain roles operating on a global basis.
  3. The full team of Crown Representatives was announced on 13 April 2011.
  4. The common commodity goods and services to be procured centrally include energy, office solutions, professional services, travel, fleet, learning and development, ICT commodities, advertising and media, print and print management.
  5. Sir Philip Green was appointed by the Prime Minister to review Government efficiency.  The review was overseen by Francis Maude and Danny Alexander. Sir Philip’s findings and recommendations were published on 11 October 2010.

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