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The government’s chief procurement officer John Collington has quit and is going back to the private sector after only starting the job in April last year.

He has been appointed chief operating officer at recruitment firm Alexander Mann Solutions.

The move triggers some concern about the government's progress in improving its procurement processes.

As a member of the Cabinet Office Efficiency & Reform Group (ERG), Collington had responsibility for centralising and consolidating procurement within the government.

Georgina O'Toole, an analyst at TechMarketView, highlighted a long list of recent departures from the ERG already.

Ian Watmore, permanent secretary of the Cabinet Office, who helped set up the ERG recently announced his own departure from the civil service.

"It must be proving hard to drive the UK government ICT strategy forward considering the number of departures from the ERG over the last year or so,” she said.

The Government Procurement Service (GPS) announced a four-year framework tender for hosting services worth between £100m and £1bn, to be used across central and local government.

Collington started working for government departments in 2007 after 23 years of working in the private sector.

O'Toole put numerous names in the frame for Collington's replacement:

 - The deputy chief procurement officer David Smith
 - Executive director of supplier relationships Bill Crothers
 - David Shields, managing director of the Government Procurement Service

Paul Marriner, seconded from Fujitsu Services as programme director for government shared services could also be a contenter for the post.

"It would certainly make a change to hear of a private sector to public sector move", O'Toole said.