The UK government’s industrial strategy rightly highlights public procurement as one of the most important levers government has for driving social and economic prosperity across the UK’s regions and nations.
But beyond this, effective collaboration across sectors is also at the heart of delivering the high-quality public services and infrastructure that are critical to the functioning of our daily lives.
Maximising the contribution of the private sector to public service delivery relies on a well-functioning government marketplace, but just 5% of CBI members believe that current procurement processes incentivised innovation, and almost two thirds of businesses stated that a focus on lowest initial bid cost continues to drive contract awards instead of long-term value for money, quality of service or social outcomes.
The uncertainty caused by the collapse of Carillion, and the spolight Brexit has shone on our regulatory environment, give us the opportunity to look again at how things work.
Got right, our exit from the EU offers the opportunity to re-evaluate public procurement processes, shift behaviours and strip out unnecessary complexity in government contracting, with the ultimate aim of delivering greater value for citizens. Got wrong, not only could the health of the UK government marketplace decline, but UK suppliers could lose the ability to compete fairly in the vast European market for public contracts.
By identifying some key areas for reform, this CBI/Browne Jacobson briefing aims to provide a useful tool for government, and its commissioners, as we enter a critical period for both public sector agencies and their suppliers.