UK government finds huge discrepancies in hardware prices

The UK Coalition’s minister for the Cabinet Office has revealed that different government departments buy computer monitors which can vary in price by as much as 170 percent.

Francis Maude was answering oral questions in the UK House of Commons
related to his department’s efficiency and reform group.

Maude said that the unit had identified areas in which there is “significant scope” for efficiency savings.

Those include moratoriums on ICT spends of over £1 million, hiring consultants who charged over £20,000 a month and on new websites.

Maude said: “Other means include…the procurement of goods and services for the whole government using our aggregated scale to drive down prices, removing discrepancies such as the variation of 170 percent in the cost of a standard computer monitor, and renegotating with the government’s biggest suppliers on a portfolio basis to take out excessive cost.”

He said he met the 20 biggest government suppliers last week to start the process.

Maude claimed that the previous Labour government’s attempt to cut down the number of websites ended up in the number actually increasing. He said: “We will take urgent steps to cut the number of websites, particularly in relation to those that compete with each other.”

He said that he had discovered that the Department of Energy and Climate Change competed against the Carbon Trust for spots on Google.

That “is one indication of the lack of discipline in that field,” he said.