Workshops are recommended as an effective way to bring the public and private sectors together. © Getty Images
Workshops are recommended as an effective way to bring the public and private sectors together. © Getty Images

Private firms 'beat the public sector' in delivering services

The public sector needs to collaborate with the private sector to “harness the power to create positive disruption”, according to a consultant.

Speaking at the YPO World of Procurement conference in London, Jeremy Brim, director of The Bidding Toolkit, told delegates that the public and private sectors needed to work together for improved efficiency and innovation in procurement.

The job of public procurement professionals "is to enable organisations to harness the power of the private sector” and be “the force for change to make a positive disruption happen”, said Brim. 

The public sector can’t compete with the private sector, therefore collaboration is key for change. “In a straight fight the private sector should and would beat the public sector if they were competing to deliver a service, in terms of efficiency and creativeness,” he said.

Private sector procurement professionals are entrepreneurs when public procurement professionals traditionally can’t be, said Brim, but working together, challenging each other and partnering will enable the different sectors to gain skills they lack.

Private organisations are able to invest in and use technology much faster and on a higher scale, and often have the choice to take calculated risks and learn from failures which improves procurement processes for the future.

Increased engagement and opportunities for collaboration starting earlier on in the procurement process will help tackle the barriers created by “challenges to procurement and poor relationships”.

“We don’t talk to each other enough. The latest EU regulations give you that opportunity to engage with the market in a much more fulfilling way than you would be able to before. I hope, however, it turns out after Brexit that we get to keep that.”

Brim recommended workshops as an effective way to bring the public and private sectors together.

He warned against bidders’ conferences, where organisations meet to present tender documents. The layout and opportunities to talk are not ideal for effective engagement. “The ability of the private sector in this scenario to innovate is near zero,” he said.

Leveraging the next generation of procurement professionals is also important for enabling change and inclusiveness. 

“We will have more millennials in procurement functions than non-millennials very soon,” said Brim.

“Millennials think differently from Gen X. They’re digital natives and make things happen. As leaders in the room, and on both sides of the fence, we need to think carefully about how we engage those new millennials in the workforce and leverage that innovation.”

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