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Whitehall procurement chief quits

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John Collington has resigned as government chief procurement officer after only two years in office

The AJ’s sister title Construction News, Collington led the overhaul of central government procurement including through the Government Construction Strategy, being rolled out now to include the launch of building information modelling and project bank accounts among other innovations.

He spoke in April about the government’s long term plan to reform the way the public sector does business as it revealed updated data on £70 billion of potential future government contracts across 13 different sectors including construction.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: ‘Under John’s leadership, the government has transformed the way it buys common goods and services, with around £1.7 billion saved in 2010/11 alone. 

“Thanks to John’s work, the government now has a much sharper approach to procurement and a much tighter grip on this spending.’   

During Collington’s term of office, government spending on goods and services of all kinds fell from £51billion to £45billion, and spend through small and medium firms doubled to £6bn, according to the Cabinet office.

When appointed two years ago, Collington said: ‘Financial challenges faced by departments means it is imperative solutions are acted upon quickly.

‘Pockets of best practice already exist within Whitehall, but so much more can be achieved.”

Collington, who is joining recruitment firm Alexander Mann, is the second senior official to quit the Cabinet Office in matter of weeks.

Permanent secretary Ian Watmore left in May after only six months in office, though before that he had headed its efficiency and reform group since 2010.  

Before joining the Cabinet Office, Collington was the Home Office’s group commercial director.

Prior to that he had worked for business consultancy Accenture as, coincidentally, did Mr Watmore prior to joining the civil service in 2006.

The announcement comes after Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude set out government’s long-term procurement reform plans yesterday. See here for more.

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