Since when did procurement become a business-hindering department?
For too long now in the public sector, procurement professionals have become mired within the OJEU process, constantly telling clients: "Oooh, you can’t do that, because the regulations say..."
Back in the good old days (with tongue firmly in my cheek), procurement departments were the solutions providers, the results driven departments that should advise on and get what’s required to complete the job.
But in public sector we seem to have taken form-filling to a new level. We need to get back to focusing on what the job of procurement really is. We are here to make sure the supply chain adds value, and a good job is not just following a process and filling out the forms. Sending out an invitation to tender is simply a mechanism so that we can do our job.
How can we turn this around? When developing my department's strategy for internal managers and the procurement team, I replaced the labouring monologue of rules and regulations with one simple sentence: "Ensure all procurement activities are compliant with EU, UK and Scottish Government procurement."
I then detailed the purpose of the procurement team as: "Align our key objectives and develop an action plan that will enable us to achieve these objectives and lead to the delivery of continuous, clear and quantifiable improvements in our procurement performance."
This will require not only the results to be driven and proven from the department, but also the perceptions changed throughout. We are at the start of the journey replacing bureaucracy with results. Watch this space
☛ Louise Cairns is procurement manager at Strathclyde Transport Partnership