Crown Commercial Service offers furniture SMEs a seat at the table in hubs plan
Agency says small firms make up two-thirds of businesses on £330m framework to supply Government Hubs Programme
The government's new Leeds "hub" Credit: Cabinet Office
The Crown Commercial Service has picked 18 suppliers for a new £330m framework to deliver furniture for the Government Hubs Programme and other projects.
It said two-thirds of the businesses who will supply desks, chairs and other essential items for proposed 20 new strategic centres would be small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Sam Ulyatt, strategic category commercial director at the CCS, which is an executive agency sponsored by the Cabinet Office, said SMEs had received half of the £120m spent by the government through the previous furniture framework.
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“We anticipate that widening the scope of the new framework will help them to play an even greater part in helping the public sector to deliver efficient services,” she said.
The furniture framework breaks down into five lots, one of which is dedicated to the hubs programme. The others are office furniture; residential furniture; high-density steel storage; and repair and renovation.
The hubs programme is seeking to radically reduce the number of UK government buildings from around 800 to 200 over the next five years through the consolidation of many operations into 18-22 regional centres. The Government Property Unit said the moves were also part of the government’s commitment to build a strong civil service outside of London, and would encourage greater collaboration by bringing several departments to work together in one building.
So far, hubs have been announced in Belfast, Bristol, east London, Cardiff, Croydon, Edinburgh, Leeds and Liverpool, with the drive being spearheaded by HMRC, which has set out proposals to shut 170 offices and replace them with 13 regional centres.
However, a report from the Public Accounts Committee released in April urged HMRC to reconsider these plans, suggesting that savings would be lower than predicted, and the strategy would impact negatively on local employment.
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