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Written Statement - Establishing the National Procurement Service for Wales

Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Leader of the House and Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities

We are today announcing the decision that Welsh Government will fund and host a ‘National Procurement Service’ for Wales. This is a major public service innovation that has been collectively designed and will be delivered through the Public Service Leadership Group (PSLG).

The PSLG, chaired by the Minister for Local Government and Communities, has championed collaborative procurement in Wales as part of its work to support efficient and effective public services. Its Procurement work-stream has developed a compelling business case for the creation of a vehicle to buy common and repetitive spend ‘once for Wales’. This work is now led by Jon House, Chief Executive of Cardiff Council and supported by Value Wales officials. Over seventy public sector organisations have agreed to join, including Local Authorities, Local Health Boards, Universities, Colleges, Fire Authorities, Police Forces and Welsh Government itself.  

In September we welcomed publication of the McClelland review, “Maximising the Impact of Welsh Procurement Policy”. Among its many useful recommendations was support for a National Procurement Service sponsored and funded by Welsh Government.  

Today we are announcing the allocation of £5.9m from the Invest-to-Save fund to establish the National Procurement Service (NPS) and fund its first 3 full years of operation, after which it will move to a self-funding model. The NPS is anticipated to set up and manage contracts to cover some 20-30% of total Welsh public sector expenditure, making best use of scarce skills and saving some £25m per year. It will be housed within Welsh Government, but accountable to a stakeholder NPS Board. It is expected to go live in November 2013, and it will build upon the collaborative procurement currently undertaken by the Value Wales division. The NPS will adopt the practices outlined in the Finance Minister’s Wales Procurement Policy statement and, in addition to securing efficiencies, it will also be tasked with seeking opportunities to develop local supply chains.

We know that there will be no significant new funding for Wales in the foreseeable future. Success will depend therefore on the Welsh public sector’s  capacity to do things differently. Changes like this are essential to make the most of the Welsh pound and direct resources to the frontline.

This is a significant development that delivers against our Programme for Government commitment to support the transformation of public services by maximising efficiencies through joint procurement systems. It demonstrates that Wales is “joined up” and has a public sector that is prepared to work collaboratively across organisational boundaries for the greater good.