Regardless of whether you voted to ‘remain’ in or to ‘leave’ the EU I think by general consensus the result was a shock to all. There are so many questions which over the coming months and years need to be answered, and one which particularly interest me – the question of public sector procurement – is certainly going to need to be addressed.
At the moment of course the picture is unclear about what regulations Public Sector bodies in the UK will be subject to following Brexit – will UK based legislation make things better or worse?
That is obviously going to be subjective, but certainly I hope the government will confirm a commitment to ensuring that regardless of how the legislation ultimately looks, the key thing is that it is founded on securing the maximum value for money and social value from public spending.
As contractors who tender for work day in day out we think that ‘best value’ would be achieved through transparent procurement, a desire to encourage SME’s, and by simplifying the tendering process to encourage greater and fairer competition for contracts – too often for example small locally based companies or specialist contractors with much to offer are excluded because of the size of their business.
As suppliers what we want to see is this:
- Transparent processes which get the best results for the public purse, investors, buyers and suppliers
- Greater and earlier opportunities for suppliers to input into tender documentation in terms of innovation and specialist knowledge to help buyers to get the best outcomes
- Greater support for SME’s to underpin their ability to grow
- A process which delivers more social value for the communities that suppliers work in
- Far greater and more open processes for tendering companies to learn from unsuccessful bids so that they can make improvements in their business to ensure better chances of success in the future
There is already some legislation in place to try to support SME’s, and previous and recent changes in procurement legislation have sought to break contracts down into smaller lots to ensure greater opportunities to tender, reduced red tape, abandoned PQQ’s for lower threshold procurement and tried to introduce mandatory 30-day payment terms. But more needs to be done.
What we don’t want:
- Costly, time-consuming processes that add cost to buyers and suppliers and don’t improve results or opportunities for anybody
A recent Guardian article made a number of points which I agree with in terms of the need for a clear set of procurement procedures and policies.
I was particularly drawn to the following points:
- All large businesses require a clear set of procurement procedures and processes. These help protect against fraud, satisfy corporate governance requirements, ensure suitable competition to deliver value for money and mean suppliers understand the rules of the game and can be confident that they will be treated fairly.
- Public sector corruption deters private investment, misallocates resources and generates social grievances.
- Both the public and suppliers need to know that the UK’s £200bn public sector spend is managed fairly.
It will be interesting to see how things do end up post Brexit in terms of public sector spending. I think there are a great many parts of existing legislation which protect the public in terms of knowing that the spending of public sector money is safeguarded and without reproach, but there are greater efficiencies and fairer distribution of contracts which can still be achieved.
It is a subject I will come back to in the future – let’s keep a watching brief and see what happens!
Rick Awdas is Business Development Manager for the North and Midlands milamaintenance.co.uk