The government faces the challenge of making progress on its new procurement operational model while working with departments’ existing contracts, industry experts said.
At the end of 2010, John Collington of the Efficiency Reform Group (ERG), announced that his team aimed to transform the way government buys commonly used goods and services through category management, standard specification and aggregation of spend, to save 25% over 4years.
The 9 categories to begin this central procurement model are:
Energy, office supplies and professional services as the first three categories to be undertaken by March 2011.
Travel, fleet and telecoms will be addressed by June 2011
IT commodities, print management and advertising and media will be tackled by September 2011.
With March 2011 fast approaching, it is the wise supplier who keeps abreast of developments in this area
A spokesman for Price Waterhouse Coopers said, “Some contracts could be terminated, others will have to run their course,” he said. “The costs of ending contracts could be more inefficient than keeping them alive. There could be many different deals kept running when less have been identified as needed. It will take longer than nine months to get all nine areas tackled.”
The Cabinet Office declined to comment on how it would end multiple contracts with existing suppliers in individual Whitehall departments in order to enable the introduction of a centralised model.
A survey by the Local Government Association published this week has revealed. Although only a small pool, the result is interesting as it makes you wonder if this is a common trend across government. Only 36% of respondents believe that the EU Remedies Directive has led to more efficient and effective procurement practices.
The Remedies Directive aims to strengthen the hand of losing suppliers to challenge contracts under the OJEU. It highlights steps suppliers can take to challenge the award of a public contract. A key change is the remedy of “ineffectiveness” which gives courts the powers to scrap a contract in particular circumstances including, if it has not been advertised, the “standstill” period has been ignored or if the rules governing a framework agreement have been broken.
The launch of specifications for sustainable procurement and collaborative working offers a powerful tool for suppliers and purchasers. Lord Jones, former director-general of the CBI, believes they should form part of any organisation’s strategic weaponry. UK businesses operate in a highly competitive global environment where agility, efficiency and innovation are the watchwords of success and standardisation weaponry.
Suppliers that comply with standards often have a competitive advantage as buyers will often use compliance to choose between comparable suppliers. Standardisation also promotes interoperability along the supply chain and provides the competitive edge that is necessary for effective worldwide trading.
BS 8903:2010 launched in Summer 2010 set out the principles and framework for sustainable procurement and also provides practical advice on the implementation of the framework practices. It has been developed by participants drawn from many sources including the private sector, pressure groups and the public sector.
BS 1100-1:2010, published October 2010, was developed with input from many industries and its longer term objective is to move to an ISO standard. It provides a strategic framework to improve collaborative relationships and explores partner selection, working together, value creation and relationship maturity.
With an increasing emphasis from buyers on this area, it is the wise supplier that will educate themselves on these standards to give themselves the competitive edge, that Lord Digby refers to.