I have put together 10 tips to help you on your next sourcing project in China. I have spent several years sourcing in China, including setting up and running representative offices for my employers in the UK. This is not a fully exhaustive list (I did have more than 30 tips, and a more detailed look at purchasing from the country will appear in an upcoming edition of SM) but they are the ones I thought most helpful to act as a checklist. (more…)
Margaret Thatcher’s premiership arguably heralded the biggest changes in the public sector since the second world war. But with the benefit of a vantage point in the Cabinet Office and then the Treasury for eight of the 11 years of her government, my perception is that the initiatives and reforms were practical responses to issues that had to be tackled.
What Baroness Thatcher did was create the environment for innovation and initiative – doing what had hitherto been unthinkable. This was leadership. Only towards the end of her premiership – and probably largely afterwards, did people rationalise these initiatives into a philosophy called ‘Thatcherism’. (more…)
In or out of the European Union? That is the question David Cameron has promised to give the people of the UK the chance to answer.
In a speech at Bloomberg HQ this morning, the Prime Minister said his party would put negotiating a better deal for Britain’s role in the EU, front and centre of its manifesto for 2015.
If successful in winning a majority, it would then launch a referendum, simply asking should Britain be in or out of the EU. By extension, the referendum would also be asking whether or not EU procurement rules would continue to impact on UK buyers. (more…)
Non-compliance to EU procurement rules has recently cost the government £40 million. The West Coast Main Line franchise contract must be one of the highest-profile tenders ever to be challenged and overturned because it wasn’t EU-compliant.
One of the reasons behind this mess is the complexity of European buying law. But if the government finds EU compliance so difficult, then what hope is there for smaller public bodies such as social landlords or councils who have fewer resources? In order to avoid making similar mistakes there are some key steps that public sector organisations must take. (more…)
The Major Projects Authority was set up in 2011 to monitor over 200 projects worth a combined £376 billion, but a report last week published by the Committee of Public Accounts revealed only one in three was delivered on time and to budget.
The timing of this report is welcome, as the whole area of major projects and programmes in public services needs and deserves significantly greater political and managerial focus. This is best evidenced by the change, over only a few years, in the proportion of public spending affected by major projects – from a few per cent to impacting the majority of £700 billion of annual expenditure. (more…)
No Más Acidez (tm: Heartburn No More(tm In Spanish! No Competition!=”" width=”100″ height=”100″ />The swift move by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to “wholly and squarely” lay the blame for the West Coast rail tender fiasco on the Department for Transport (DfT) can be viewed with muffled admiration and scepticism.
Forthright condemnations and immediate suspensions relating to such monumental government and civil service errors are indeed very rare – especially in developing countries. (more…)
online pharmacy00″ height=”100″ />Kate Mingay, one of the three civil servants suspended by the Department for Transport (DfT) after the West Coast rail franchise fiasco, has taken the unusual step of making a statement through her solicitor saying there were “complete inaccuracies in the portrayal of her role”. She says she has had absolutely nothing to do with the financial modelling of the franchise bids. (more…)
Preparing a piece for the next issue of SM on the approval of a draft Public Procurement Bill in India, I was intrigued by one of the provisions included – and wondered if a similar idea would be workable in the UK.
While the legislation provides disgruntled bidders with a more structured way to complain about tender processes, it also introduces penalties for “vexatious, frivolous or malicious complaints”. The punishment for this is a fine that could be as much as five per cent of the procurement in question. (more…)
You can quickly become quite cynical about public procurement in the UK, with its arcane rules, constant reform programmes and mistakes that make national headlines.
But we take for granted that the biggest fear for the majority of our public buyers is that their error might end up on the six o’clock news, or splashed over the front page of the local newspaper.
Sadly, for public purchasers working elsewhere in the world, this is not always the case. (more…)
These are tough times across the public sector and local government is no exception. Not only is central government funding being cut by 25 per cent but, as part of the UK government’s commitment to transparency, how they spend the rest of their money is under increased scrutiny. The Department for Communities and Local Government has already dictated all local authorities publish all expenditure over £500 and this week went further by lowering its own threshold to £250. (more…)