17 June 2011 |
When the UK
government speaks about commissioning, it is really talking about strategic
procurement, according to CIPS CEO David Noble.
Speaking at The Public Procurement Show in London this week, Noble - who sits
on the government’s Procurement Executive Board - said there was a need for
clarification over the terminology, particularly at a time when government
procurement was in the limelight.
“Commissioning is, I believe, strategic procurement, most governments in the
world see it that way,” said Noble. “There's always more work to do and more
improvements to make but there is huge support from the Cabinet Office to
ensure commissioning gains the skills sets of strategic procurement.”
Commissioning has become a popular term in the public sector as the government
seeks to contract out more of its core services, such as social care. But the
risks involved have been underlined by the recent financial concerns
surrounding care home provider Southern Cross.
Noble said the government is making great strides to improve procurement skills
and to manage risk in contracting out services. “Public sector procurement
staff and commissioners may find purchasing difficult and CIPS is here to help
with new products and services.”
Noble also highlighted stakeholder management as an area where government
buying could be helped. “Be aware of the influence you’re having on your
stakeholders. Make sure they understand where you’re coming from… that is fundamental to me in enhancing the
profession,” he said.