I’m writing this open letter to you, as I’m seriously concerned about the clear lack of coordinated thinking and resistance to action across procurement teams within the public sector.
Ocurem work on consulting projects for both parties including suppliers and also with the buyers and procurement teams. We have worked with public sector teams and departments across Education, IT, Local Government, Central Government and the NHS.
However it still leaves me bewildered at the level of uncoordinated and frankly unaudited level of spending which takes place, which does at first appear to be following the public sector procedures, but on further inspection could be considered as simply being a stratagem for public scrutiny.
It’s certainly not a new scenario, as no modern government has ever managed to produce a blueprint for “sharing, synchronising and saving” which is our term, for getting it right when engaging in procurement activity.
So I am asking you to consider a fundamentally different approach. I would like you to target all public sector procurement teams, and those departments who have some responsibility for spending financial budgets. Set them targets which include the following aspects and I can assure you that the UK will truly be head and shoulders above other EU countries and most likely be considered world class.
We believe that the following targets would deliver the best results, though we appreciate that this is not an overnight fix, and is in no way the full set of criteria (but hey, you’ve got a whole team of government ministers and special advisors who consult regularly on this topic, so we’d best leave them some work)
- Target all public sector bodies that have a financial budget or are responsible for funds being spent, to procuring a percentage of all their financial spend to be spent within frameworks or consortia agreements. (This should rise each year over a 5-10 year period as current agreements expire and require re-tendering)
- Audit 20% of all public sector framework agreements let each year. (This may seem high at first consideration, but for this to be truly effective, you need more leveraged spend which is coordinated, so you would end up with less agreements in total, so actually not much auditing work in terms of real volume would be necessary)
- Target each public sector body with physically producing 3 x lessons learned documents, which should be reviewed by category (e.g. IT / Professional Services / Catering)
- Make the lessons learned documents available on a central portal, and target all public sector bodies that have a financial budget or are responsible for funds being spent, to upload these documents within 14 days of publish date.
- Anyone who is responsible for cumulative budgets of more than £5 million should be CIPS (Chartered Institute of Purchase & Supply) trained and fully qualified.
So Mr Prime Minister, if you’d like to discuss this further, we’d be delighted in chatting this through with you and your cabinet ministers.