New Zealand's central government, led by prime minister Jacinda Ardern, pictured, scored maximum points on three measures of procurement effectiveness © Kenzaburo Fukuhara - Pool/Getty Images
New Zealand's central government, led by prime minister Jacinda Ardern, pictured, scored maximum points on three measures of procurement effectiveness © Kenzaburo Fukuhara - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand tops world rankings for government procurement

26 April 2019

New Zealand is the best government in the world when it comes to procurement, according to a major new report released yesterday by Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government.

It examined 38 countries on range of measures, including the “extent to which the government’s procurement processes are efficient, competitive, fair, and pursue value for money.”

The report stated: “Effective procurement management can streamline contracts and reduce outgoings, contributing to improved efficiencies in civil services.”

It is the first time that procurement has been included in the International Civil Service Effectiveness (InCiSE) Index, a global benchmark of government performance.

The extent of government e-procurement functions and access for SMEs contributed to New Zealand making the top spot, the report said.

New Zealand’s pole position for procurement suggests that the country “has positive lessons to share with other countries who wish to improve in these areas,” it added.

The procurement indicator scores for the top three countries - New Zealand, Denmark and the UK - were significantly ahead of the next highest countries.

Among the top five, Israel and the UK achieved the maximum score for the “extent to which policies are in place to help small and medium-sized enterprises participate in central government procurement.”

While Denmark scored a maximum score for the role of its central purchasing body, and the Republic of Korea’s highest score was achieved for its e-procurement within government.

Romania was the worst ranked country for procurement performance, with Germany, Poland, Portugal, and Slovenia joining it in the bottom five.

Government procurement functions were ranked using a number of key metrics drawing on data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Public Procurement Survey. The ranking was also informed by the Opentender project, which analyses the tender and contract notices for procurement exercises using the European Union’s Tenders Electronic Daily service.

The Index aims to help countries determine how their central civil services are performing and to learn from each other. Although the UK was ranked highest in terms of overall civil service effectiveness, followed by New Zealand, the fact that it is just third in terms of procurement comes amid mounting calls for improvements to government purchasing practices.

Earlier this month the think tank Reform released a report warning of “several key areas where weak or underperforming elements in the commissioning cycle have led to failings in the procurement of public services.” It called for a large-scale review of public procurement services.

And in February the Cabinet Office published the Outsourcing Playbook in order to improve procurement processes.

Top five countries for procurement effectiveness

1. New Zealand

2. Denmark

3. UK

4. Republic of Korea

5. Israel

Bottom five countries for procurement effectivenes

1. Romania

2. Portugal

3. Slovenia

4. Germany

5. Poland

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