‘The Government is also using innovative procurement tools: E-auctions allow suppliers to bid online for business. Savings, typically 20-25 per cent of the project value, emerge from the price improvements produced by a transparent negotiation, which is instantaneous and electronic, and from simpler processes. OGC sponsored IT e-auctions have saved nearly £16 million on an expenditure of £54 million, involving more than 300 organisations’ (HM Treasury, Transforming government procurement, 2007, p.10).
‘Since September 2005, the Office of the Government Commerce's IT eAuction programme has helped over 40 public sector bodies’ (OGC, Saving Money with IT eAuctions, November 2006).
‘The national health service Purchasing and Supply Agency (PASA) is conducting pilot e-auctions to establish if they will provide best value for money for the NHS and in which areas they are most effective’ (Hansard, 21 January 2004, col. 1356W).
And then there's this pledge. 'By Budget 2010 we will set out specific proposals to reduce the level of ring-fencing for local authorities' and 'we will reduce the number of revenue streams to local government. By Budget 2010, we will set out specific proposals to reduce the level of ring-fencing for local authorities'. We have heard this all before...
'In recent years the Government has significantly strengthened the powers of local authorities to do this - by cutting red tape and ring fencing' (DCLG press release, 2 July 2009).
'Alongside the introduction of the new performance framework (April 2009) all funding being distributed through LAAs will be unringfenced' (DCLG, Strong and prosperous communities, Local Government White Paper, October 2006, p.105)
Yet the proportion of ring-fenced local government revenue expenditure has actually risen from 4 per cent in 1997-98 (Hansard, 12 December 2007, col. 685WA) to 14.6 per cent in 2009-10 (Hansard, 12 March 2009, col. 745W; excludes Direct Schools Grant).
Brown's delivery this morning carried no passion or conviction. He just read out the speech in his normal machine gun fashion. Radio 5 Live, who covered the speech live, couldn't find a single caller to praise Brown. One woman rang in and said
Gordon Brown's speech was a absolute inspiration ... if you live on Planet Brown. I don't. I live in the real world.