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14 December 2012 | Anna Reynolds
The Welsh public sector will change the way it buys to create more benefits for local communities and open the door to SMEs, under the government’s Procurement Policy Statement.
The statement sets out nine principles for the public sector to adopt for effective procurement. The policy has been published following the recommendations set out in the McClelland Review earlier this year.
Under the new policy, public sector bodies will use the sell2wales portal to advertise all contracts over £25,000 to attract local suppliers. Main contractors can use the ‘tier 1’ facility on the website to open up further supply chain opportunities for SMEs.
The Welsh government will also design a ‘maturity model’ against which public sector organisations will measure their level of procurement. The government will also provide a framework with the necessary qualifications and experience needed to recruit public sector procurement staff. This will ensure adequate skills and resources are in place to carry out effective procurement and contract management.
The government will also provide tools such as the ‘sustainable risk assessment’ to ensure procurement decisions consider the impact on local communities and the environment.
Common procurement practices will be adopted by the public sector to make the processes more transparent and to save money. The government will encourage collaborative procurement initiatives across the sector for areas of common spend. The policy calls for improved dialogue with suppliers by establishing a single, electronic point of contact for feedback and queries.
Finally, procurement performance and outcomes will be monitored by the government through regular reports.
Announcing the policy, Welsh finance minister Jane Hutt said: “If the policies in the statement are not fully embraced I am prepared to strengthen public procurement duties and will consider additional regulation or legislation.
“Over the past year, we have seen that good procurement can drive efficiencies and, at the same time, bring about local community and economic benefits. Public leaders must not settle for adequate procurement activity. In Wales, we already have some of the best practice available and we all must strive to achieve excellence in our procurement to get the maximum benefit from every penny we spend.”