The government has created a new role of chief procurement officer, in an effort to centralise buying and cut purchase costs.

John Collington, until now the head of procurement within the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group, will oversee buying across government. He will lead a transformation at Buying Solutions, the government’s procurement arm.

Collington reports to government chief operating officer Ian Watmore.

Whitehall began taking steps to buy as a single customer from its largest IT suppliers, by signing Memoranda of Understanding with them that stated purchasing would be increasingly made across departments in a single transaction.

Collington will target centralised purchasing of all goods, including commonly used items such as office supplies. The idea is for the government to make better use of its combined buying power.

David Smith, commercial director at the Department for Work and Pensions, will take the role of deputy chief procurement officer.

Two weeks ago, the government appointed seven ‘crown representatives’ to manage a list of suppliers consisting mainly of IT firms, controlling contract signing and monitoring project progress.