'Telling Civil Servants at the Dept for Business about Money Saving' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.


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  • What an absolutely brilliant start!

    I work in Higher Education and we need this kind of thing to be made clear to our business units as well. Martin, can I please borrow these headings so I can attempt to persuade my budget managers and their bosses of the changes we need to make?

    You are such an inspiration to so many people. Thanks for all that you do.
    "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort"
    Herm Albright 1876-1944
  • IMHO there are far too many people working in Central & Local Government.

    It seems that at our Local Education Department there seems to be 3 people doing a job that in the real world would be done by just one.

    For instance, my eldest plays a trumpet and we loan this from the CC. I have a letter written to me signed by one person asking to pay and then on the same day the letter arrives I get a phone call from a second person asking to pay (it's not overdue btw). I then tell the woman that I'll pay over the phone rather than by cheque, she ticks me off of her list, puts me on hold and passes me to some bloke who takes my card details etc.

    Why send a letter and incur postal & stationery costs and why can't the woman making the phone calls take the money?

    Also, when it comes to education, we have to buy play equipment and have our repairs done by an authorised company. This means that we have to pay over the odds as the authorised company know we can't go elsewhere.

    To make any real savings in Central and Local Government need to look at their supplier channels and say to them if you want to keep supplying us you need to make your prices competitive or else. However, I doubt if any one really keeps tabs on the supplier prices once they have been added to the 'Golden list'

    M_o_3
  • edited 21 September 2010 at 4:58PM
    AmbersuccubusAmbersuccubus Forumite
    132 Posts
    edited 21 September 2010 at 4:58PM
    Supplier lists are awful. They slow down purchasing, make it impossible to source competitively, and they depress local economies where govt. and education institutions are the main employers because small businesses, no matter how good or cost effective, can't get in the blummin' things!


    ETA I personally don't believe in free market capitalism, and think it's immoral. but if you're going to use it as a system, at least let it run freely and work as it is supposed to (hopefully) in driving competition for value and quality, not to create monopolies that can't even be controlled by government!
  • bonzerbonzer Forumite
    399 Posts
    I am so pleased you mentioned centralised purchasing. It's a frequent annoyance of mine that large organisations go for big locked-in purchasing contracts to "save money", that wind up more expensive than buying the same stuff off the net with a credit card.
  • corbyboycorbyboy Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture
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    I will definitely agree with the purchasing comments and I work in the NHS.

    Take something as simple as purchasing a plastic bucket (this is actually a real example I had recently).

    I could pop to Wilkinsons and buy one tomorrow for a fiver.
    But I had to go through NHS purchasing. The quoted price was £35, then add VAT and delivery charge. Then there was a 4 week lead time.

    Inefficiency really annoys me. And the buzzword in the NHS at the minute is "lean working."
  • Preferred suppliers lists are a HUGE bugbear of mine as well. I have worked all over in the public sector, local government, NHS, Central government, charities, and now the university sector. In every single one of those places I can prove the preferred suppliers were taking the organisation for a ride. Rank inefficiencies and inflated prices all round. I am attempting to get the university I work for to get rid of preferred suppliers entirely and let the purchasing agents get the best price where they can. I am not too hopeful though.
    "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort"
    Herm Albright 1876-1944
  • Unfortunately I was unable to attend this event. I was a bit surprised that you say that you had 20 mins beforehand to think about what you planned to talk about - this event has been on our intranet for weeks and certainly in the last few weekly newsletter! So certainly not a lastminute thing!

    Martin is this really how much planning you put into upcoming events?:eek::p
  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
    8.3K Posts
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    adhoc wrote: »
    Unfortunately I was unable to attend this event. I was a bit surprised that you say that you had 20 mins beforehand to think about what you planned to talk about - this event has been on our intranet for weeks and certainly in the last few weekly newsletter! So certainly not a lastminute thing!

    Martin is this really how much planning you put into upcoming events?:eek::p

    As my team will tell you 20 mins is a lot more thinking than normal. MoneySaving live (2 hours live show) I did about 10 for and normal speeches I just write down ten words on a piece of paper.

    There's no space in my diary for planning - Im lucky I seem to be able to wing it without a problem - one day it'll catch up on me.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
  • The problem with the public sector is not that they don't know how to be cost-efficient, it's that they don't care about being cost-efficient, as there is no incentive for them to be. They know some of them will be getting sacked, and realistically it isn't going to be the least productive ones. If they cared about moneysaving they might be able to offer a better service to the public, but the bottom line is they don't care, as long as they're getting paid.
  • I think Fatballz has hit the nail on the head - it is OPM-itis - other people's money. Having run a small business I discovered every which way of getting the best quality for the lowest price, whether it was printer cartridges, post-its or laptops and furniture. This was all to save pennies which add up but I did this as it was my money and therefore more tangible. OPM-itis is easier option for a jobsworth unfortunately.
    I also taught myself and now love to haggle for every penny. Perhaps Purchasing Departments in all public sector areas can invest in a haggling training course to actively negotiate cheaper deals with existing suppliers and threaten them with going elsewhere as a relatively easy first step in the right direction of spending all of our money better!
    Good work Martin for raising these great ideas in front of the people who can make a difference!
    GP.
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