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Government Procurement Card

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the mean average spend using a Government Procurement Card was per member of staff in (a) his Department and (b) each of its arm's length bodies in (i) 2011 and (ii) 2012.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government

The following table sets out a comparison for the mean average spend per member of staff against the Government Procurement Card expenditure from 2008-09 onwards. This shows a continuing reduction in expenditure over the years.

Nearest (£)
Organisation 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
DCLG Central 284 155 105 38 10
Arm’s length bodies          
Homes and Communities Agency (1)701 2,295 1,256 978 736
Planning Inspectorate 207 205 88 82 (2)105
Audit Commission 291 267 141 85 49
Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre 1,167 1,650 1,070 619 447
Valuation Tribunal Service 24 37 19 8 (3)
Local Government Ombudsman 0 164 337 348 253
Fire Service College 984 852 617 417 279
(1) Spend from December 2008 since inception of the Homes and Communities Agency. (2) Spend has gone up in 2012-13 due to the bookings and payments of staff training which are now being done through the Government Procurement Card. (3) All cards withdrawn by April 2012.

We received nil returns from the five other arm’s length bodies:

London Thames Gateway DC

West Northamptonshire DC

Independent Housing Ombudsman Ltd

Architects Registration Board

Building Regulations Advisory Committee

While there is a role for electronic payments using such cards, under this Administration, my Department has introduced new internal checks and audit trails on the use of the Government Procurement Card, from pre-approvals to requiring post-transaction reporting. We have significantly reduced the number of card holders. Our transparency agenda of publishing spending data online has also increased internal and external scrutiny of every single transaction on such charge cards.

As the Department explained in its publication, ‘50 ways to save: Examples of sensible savings in local government’ published in December, the online transparency and tougher controls have helped cut expenditure on ‘Central Departments’ Government Procurement Cards’ by over three-quarters, from £321,076 in 2009-10, to just £70,835 in 2011-12 and cut the number of card holders from 210 in May 2010 to just 26 in November 2012.

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