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September 2011 | Adam Leach
UK government’s procurement of advanced technology has been rated 49th,
despite being named 13th strongest for overall innovation.
Global Competitiveness Report 2011/2012, published
yesterday by the World Economic Forum, ranked the UK second for university-industry
collaboration in R&D, third for the quality of its research institutions
and 13th for its capacity for innovation. Yet it was ranked 49th
for government procurement, one place behind France and 36 places behind Rwanda.
survey, which ranked 142 countries across a number of categories, such as
infrastructure, technological readiness and labour market efficiency, noted
that Israel’s world-class capacity for innovation had been “supported by the
government’s public procurement policies”.
findings from the report concerning the UK echo those put forward in a June report
by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. It claimed that the current state of
public sector procurement was “antithetical” to innovation and that government buyers were settling for “proven solutions” from “existing suppliers”.
Lords report was conducted as a result of comments from Lord Sainsbury who, in
response to a question about whether the Home Office should have a budget to
develop innovation, said: “They are the customer, they have the problem, and
they should be driving a programme of innovation.”
then, the Cabinet Office has taken action to promote the merits of innovative
technology to public sector buyers.
Speaking at an event in July which
gave SMEs the chance to pitch to an audience of government buyers, Cabinet
Office Minister, Francis Maude, said: “We as buyers need to be up-to-speed with
the innovative solutions out there. There’s been good progress so far but not