The UK government means business on public procurement. Esther Maughan McLachlan talks to Sir Neville Simms, the man charged with making it work.

The UK Government buys �13 billion worth of goods and services every year. For the wider public sector that figure rises to �125 billion. Accepting the challenge to 'walk its talk', the Government is determined to use this buying power to pull suppliers along the road to more sustainable production � stimulating the market for innovative solutions, as well as promoting the drive for more efficient use of resources.

'Sustainable public procurement' is the name of the game, and the creation of a sustainable procurement task force was accordingly one of the most crucial new initiatives announced at the launch of Securing the Future in March. Charged with developing a national action plan across every level of the public sector, the task force has just one year to help meet the Government's new goal of establishing its European leadership on sustainable procurement by 2009.