Procurement, done well, can improve public services and infrastructure, boost innovation and drive prosperity. It ensures the services we all rely on – from refuse collection to major infrastructure like HS2 – are high-quality and future-proofed. But current practices are creating a race to the bottom and bureaucracy is preventing effective partnerships between the public and private sector.
We’re calling on business and government to work together to ensure procurement delivers value for all. To play its part, business must improve corporate practices, bid responsibly and walk away from unsustainable contracts. And government must commit to delivering better outcomes, rather than just cost efficiencies.
Implement the new Outsourcing Playbook and Commercial Standards to improve public-private partnerships
Put social value at the heart of government contracts to benefit businesses of all sizes and rebuild public trust
Incentivise long-term supplier performance by taking a fairer approach to allocating contractual risk, and providing the right level of reward
How public money is spent defines the success of the UK economy and the quality of services – with business partnerships providing vital investment, expertise and innovation. In fact, in recent years, the public sector has spent more money on contracts than it spends on providing services itself.
But suppliers to government operate in challenging conditions, with almost 40% of businesses rating public procurement as poor or very poor. The government’s current approach to procurement risks creating a culture of short-termism, and an unsustainable marketplace – ultimately putting quality public services and infrastructure in jeopardy.
Looking ahead, government contracting must focus on collaborative partnerships with industry that deliver for the long-term and are centred around genuine value for money – not the cheapest price.
"At a time when collaboration between sectors is under increasing scrutiny, it is more important than ever that government and business develop better partnerships and boost public confidence in their value. Business cares deeply about the vital role it can play in delivering public services and infrastructure – and it already makes a significant contribution. However, these partnerships need to evolve if they are to be fit for the challenges of the future. In particular, government must work with its suppliers to focus more on long-term value rather than just short-term costs."Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director, CBI
The sheer scale of the market means great partnerships between the public and private sector are vital for the wider economy.
government's yearly spend on buying goods and services from external suppliers—almost one third of total public expenditure
of CBI members believe that service quality was the main driver of contract awards
companies in the UK supply to the public sector, ranging from large multi-national companies to micro-businesses
The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.
CBI calls for change following the collapse of Carillion
CBI champions the value of public-private partnerships
Improving prompt payment by government suppliers on public sector contracts
Cabinet Secretary vows to put social value at the heart of public contracts
New CBI report underlines the role of business in delivering public services
CBI Launches Public Sector Partners Council
CBI responds to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s call for evidence
CBI members help shape new innovation strategy
New Outsourcing Playbook to improve public sector contracting launched
CBI outlines key opportunities to improve public procurement post-Brexit
Payment practices: it pays to be prompt
CBI pushes back on calls to reduce business involvement in public service delivery
CBI responds to Cabinet Office consultation on social value in government procurement
New Technology Innovation Strategy has key wins to improve public sector procurement.
CBI welcomes government response to responsible payment call for evidence
CBI seeks member views on contract management
CBI welcomes launch of new government policy on payment practices
New payment practice policy launches, reflecting CBI members’ feedback
CBI responds to Institute for Government report on outsourcing
CBI kicks-off second phase of gathering member examples of public sector best practice
Why reforming contract management is critical to the public purse and to business
Valued partnerships: embedding social value in public contracts
Public-private partnerships: lessons from COVID-19
Public-private partnerships: lessons from COVID-19
New public sector Construction Playbook opens door to improved procurement in UK construction
New Foundations: a fresh start for procurement to help the construction industry build back better
Join the CBI
Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK. Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to make public procurement work for citizens and for business.Find out more
Have your say
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Make a difference
This campaign is led by the CBI's Infrastructure and Energy team.
Contact Tom Thackray, Director of Infrastructure and Energy, to find out about the progress UK business urgently needs for infrastructure and how you can support the change.