Compulsory purchasing scores higher than voluntary systems

28 July 2010

28 July 2010 | Lindsay Clark

Organisations that mandate use of procurement systems are much more likely to succeed than those that don’t, according to research from analyst Gartner.

In a study which analysed use of shared services, e-procurement and e-notification websites, Gartner found that public and private sector bodies that mandate report satisfaction with these systems more than 80 per cent of the time, whereas only 25 per cent of organisations that make participation voluntary report satisfaction with the results.

The study, which drew on work with hundreds of clients during the past four years, found that both public and private sector organisations are often reluctant to mandate the use of preferred suppliers, contracts and software tools.

The finding comes at a time of controversy over the issue of mandating a particular procurement practice in the public sector in the UK. Frustrated with the lack of progress in aggregating demand and driving economies of scale, the coalition government has said it would mandate collaborative procurement across central departments, through the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group.

However, last week, the chief executive officer of Firebuy, a joint procurement body for the fire service, said that mandating use of collaborative procurement had been shown not to work in the past. Terry Brewer was responding to criticism in a report by the National Audit Office.

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