Centralised procurement has saved the Isle of Man’s government more than £2 million, officials say.

Civil servants from all nine government departments were brought together in 2011 to form a unitary procurement team as part of a drive to improve “standards, efficiency and transparency”. The government said it had been aiming to get the best value for money without sacrificing its support of the local economy when it hands out contracts.

Cutting costs through a more consistent procurement strategy is the team’s primary aim, but it is also tasked with making sure that “clear and open competition” is the driver behind the tender process. To achieve this, it must ensure that all suppliers are afforded the chance to bid for a government contract and guarantee that they will all be treated equally.

According to the Manx government, the Treasury’s collaboration with other departments has caused tender activity to shoot up by 150 per cent, while the standard tender process is developing to a point where it is much quicker than in the UK. To maintain this momentum, the crown dependency’s treasury minister has appointed a new political advocate of efficient procurement – Alex Downie OBE MLC will become chair of the recently founded government procurement committee.

“Government spends a considerable amount of money on the things it needs to provide a comprehensive range of services to the Manx public, so it made sense for departments to work together to achieve the best deal for the taxpayer,” says Eddie Teare, Isle of Man treasury minister.

Governments are becoming increasingly aware that in a time when budget pressures are acute, the procurement process is a promising area for generating efficiency savings. The UK Cabinet Office has recently announced that it plans to establish a central purchasing service for all Whitehall departments later this year.

Cabinet secretary Francis Maude announced that the Crown Commercial Service will deal with all central government purchasing, such as choosing energy suppliers for all Whitehall buildings, while giving departments the freedom to focus on their own specific needs.

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