IfG agrees open book accounting will improve contract management

The Institute for Government (IfG) agrees with Margaret Hodge’s statement that open book accounting is essential for tackling issues in the government’s contract management, as outlined in a recent NAO report.

By Samera Owusu Tutu

11 Dec 2014

Tom Gash, director of research at the IfG, said: “We agree that open book accounting and published contracts should be the norm, and contracts need to be managed at a senior level by people with the right expertise.

“We are working with the CBI and others to ensure that transparency in contracting is taken seriously and managed properly. Until the public can find out how much different contracts cost the taxpayer and which providers are performing well and less well, it will be hard for them to hold both suppliers and government departments to account for their use of public funds.”

CSW reported yesterday that the NAO believes the civil service has allowed large companies to become “quasi-monopoly suppliers” with too much contractual advantage.

Commenting on the contract management areas spotlighted by the NAO for improvement (outlined in yesterday’s CSW report), Gash adds: “Competition is also crucial and this means that government needs to focus on how it stimulates competition and builds markets as well as how it manages individual suppliers.

“Both contractors and government departments must take responsibility when contracts between the private and public sector go wrong. While the government is trying to improve its management of private and voluntary sector suppliers, the PAC report shows there is still far to go.”

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