Partnerships between the public and private sectors are critical to both the delivery of high-quality public services and infrastructure and the health of the wider economy.
As the National Audit Office have noted, in recent years the public sector has been spending more money on contracts than it spends on providing services itself. How well government designs and manages public contracts is therefore critical for the delivery of core public services that touch the lives of citizens every day.
The sheer size of the market – around £242 billion pounds per year across over 200,000 firms – also means that public procurement is one of the most important levers government has for driving both innovation and economic prosperity across the UK’s regions and nations.
Yet new CBI evidence, gathered in partnership with Browne Jacobson, demonstrates that if government’s ambitious vision for world-class public services and infrastructure is to be delivered, it must work with its private sector suppliers to build better partnerships.
In particular, the CBI’s findings suggest that too often private sector suppliers are viewed as a vehicle for cost-reduction, rather than a partner that can bring much needed investment and innovation to the delivery of public services and infrastructure.
With suppliers facing intensifying scrutiny, it is more important than it ever has been for business and government to work together to deliver long-term value rather than just savings in the short-term.
Unlocking this contribution in turn requires reductions in the complexity and inconsistency of procurement, to ensure that businesses of all sizes can make their full contribution to improving the outcomes that matter to citizens.
This report hopes to provide some important reflections on how this can be achieved.