Expect more public procurement reform

14 September 2012

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14 September 2012 | Adam Leach

UK public sector buyers will operate in a more favourable regulatory environment in four years' time, the government’s deputy chief procurement officer has predicted.

Speaking at the Procurement Conference 2012 in London on Wednesday, Sally Collier told an audience of buyers to expect further reforms by 2016, in addition to the European reforms currently under discussion. She explained while the government’s lobbying had already seen 10 of 12 proposals to simplify and sped up procedures adopted, there would be more significant movement in years to come.

“I think we’re going to do it in four years which is breakneck speed in Brussels. We’re negotiating every week,” she said. The government has repeatedly stated its desire to see the threshold at which public sector contracts must be advertised increased.

Collier also spoke of the strong ministerial backing procurement is receiving from the current administration. “Being able to talk to a minister about the minutiae of procurement directives is absolutely fantastic,” she said.

She also told the audience a priority for central government procurement is to increase the amount of spend handled by the Government Procurement Service. It is also aiming to increase the percentage of staff trained in best practice procurement, to ensure technology purchased by government meets its needs and to reduce both the time and cost of sourcing goods and services.

She also endorsed the policy of engaging with suppliers ahead of formal procurement proceedings. “It makes absolute sense to me that if we’re going to be buying something in government, we should tell the supply base that we intend to buy it, even if we later change our minds.”

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