Basic commodities including paper, telecoms, printing and travel were all found to have been bought at significantly different prices across Government departments.
Sir Philip Green, who was commissioned by the Prime Minister to produce the report, believes billions could be saved if the Government made the most of its scale, buying power and credit rating. He concluded that the scale of waste was 'shocking'.
Sir Philip Green was appointed in August to review Government efficiency. His focus was the procurement of goods and services and the management of the Government's property portfolio. Today's report adds to the £3 billion of efficiency savings from Whitehall departments already announced by Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister.
Sir Philip Green said:
"There is no reason why Government should not be as efficient as any good business. Any large organisation would want to use its credit rating and scale to buy efficiently. The conclusion of this review is clear - credit rating and scale in virtually every department has not been used to make Government spending efficient."
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, added:
"The scale of the waste uncovered by Sir Philip and his team is staggering. His review shows that for too long there has been no coherent strategy to make government operate more efficiently. We know that Government is very different to business. But that does not mean that it should not act in a more business-like manner. Every pound that we can take out of the cost of government is a pound we can protect on the front line. Our over-riding aim is to protect the quality of front line services and to protect the jobs of dedicated public sector workers."