April 17, 2013
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…)
February 5, 2013
My appearance, with Jon Hughes of Future Purchasing, before the Public Administration Select Committee in January appears to have caused some controversy.
I have been arguing for a centralised model for public procurement for many years, so I’m pleased someone has finally noticed. For the past quarter of a century or so there have been reasonable government procurement policies that have largely failed to be implemented because there has been no mechanism for doing so, and there have been all sorts of problems with some major spends. With public sector procurement spend worth roughly £3,500 to each member of the UK population, this is a huge amount of money not to be managing coherently to deliver value for money and economic growth. (more…)
November 29, 2012
The concept of barring companies found to have acted contrary to the law or in a negligent manner from public sector contracts has received a lot of attention over recent months.
There is a strong appetite in the UK to keep those who have done wrong, been perceived not to have paid enough tax or failed to fulfil contractual requirements, away from public deals. (more…)
August 30, 2012
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…)
August 23, 2012
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…)
May 18, 2012
I have recently awarded a high-value contract where the public sector establishment will have to find a way to develop a good relationship with a small private company to deliver the commissioned service successfully.
It was not easy to arrive at the solution, however budgetary constraints dictated the outcome and the private company’s offers was commercially more competitive and the small panel evaluating the tender responses was united in its outcome. (more…)
March 28, 2012
It’s all change in public procurement. The wide range reforms proposed by the European Commission, expected to result in a new directive by 2014, make fundamental changes to the way in which public purchasers will go about their daily lives. (more…)
March 23, 2012
I was with a government procurement representative recently. She happened to mention the reduction in procurement staff meant they were being encouraged to place contracts that encompassed more and more capability. This policy is to get them ready for yet more job losses. Simply put, if the number of contracts isn’t reduced the remaining staff will not be able to cope with the workload in the future. (more…)
March 21, 2012
I had the pleasure to attend the second day of Procurex National in Birmingham, at which the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP set the scene for the next few years in public sector procurement. And what a scene he set. A powerful speaker with a lot of charisma, he sounded like he meant business in more than a figure-of-speech way. (more…)