Author: Daniel Carey
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5 August 2015 - 11:44, by , in Blog, Comments off
We can safely add a third factor to Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  That element is “procurement pressure” – the need to squeeze ever more out of public sector budgets that are guaranteed to be slashed year on year for the life of the current government. Austerity doesn’t impact just those in receipts of frontline services but also at the public servants who are charged with delivering the means and the framework in which to provide them. Procurement officers. Colin Cram (public sector consultant specialising in procurement) writing in the Guardian on 2nd July 2015 reckons that the public sector could save billions without cutting frontline services. He outlines several possible approaches and summarises by saying “The potential for public sector efficiencies would appear to be at least £35bn a year, over one third being from unprotected budgets.” That is a lot of money and his guess is as good as anybody else’s. However, looking at it from another angle, if we accept that the total public sector spend, including government, NHS and defence, is somewhere north of £250 billion annually, then £35 billion is 14% give or...
1 August 2015 - 14:59, by , in Blog, Comments off
The May 2015 late spring bank holiday weekend saw anti-austerity protests in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens. One cannot help but suspect that it will be the first of many that we will see up and down the country. The Town Hall is the public face of harsh government-enforced budget cuts and it’s they who must bear the brunt of anger and outrage when services have to cut back as a result. Manchester was particularly hard hit by the Dec 2014 budget cuts, losing 5.1% of its spending power compared with a nationwide average of 1.8%. Councils have no choice but to make do and get on with it. The money must be stretched even further. Every thousand pounds saved goes to prop up the core vital services for the vulnerable, the underprivileged and the genuinely needy – every council’s top priority. One of the emerging paradigm shifts within the public sector in recent years is the trend towards greater collaboration. This can be seen in action in the North West where 10 unitary councils have come together under the banner of AGMA since 2011. The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities is a partnership whereby authorities co-operate to exploit ways of improving...
23 June 2015 - 10:27, by , in Blog, Comments off
The need for robust Risk Management in Procurement is just the same as it is any other field of commercial activity. That does not mean it has to be a Big Deal or that you need to study for years to become proficient. At its core, Risk Management is simply gazing into the crystal ball that you keep in the third drawer of your desk (you do, don’t you?) to determine everything that might go wrong and planning actions should the worst happen. In reality, you look around at the experience that others have had for that particular category and/or supplier and draw on their experience to augment your own skill and judgement. This is not to belittle or ignore the particular risks, especially those of legal challenge and audit accountability that public sector procurement professionals face in their every tender process. It does require a clear need for specialist knowledge and awareness that the private sector does not suffer. New Zealand has had more than its fair share of natural disasters in recent years, from the terrible 2011 earthquake in Christchurch to adverse extreme weather. NZ sits atop the Pacific Ring Of Fire, which is akin to a war...
23 June 2015 - 10:17, by , in Blog, Comments off
The May 2015 late spring bank holiday weekend saw anti-austerity protests in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens. One cannot help but suspect that it will be the first of many that we will see up and down the country. The Town Hall is the public face of harsh government-enforced budget cuts and it’s they who must bear the brunt of anger and outrage when services have to cut back as a result. Manchester was particularly hard hit by the Dec 2014 budget cuts, losing 5.1% of its spending power compared with a nationwide average of 1.8%. Councils have no choice but to make do and get on with it. The money must be stretched even further. Every thousand pounds saved goes to prop up the core vital services for the vulnerable, the underprivileged and the genuinely needy – every council’s top priority. One of the emerging paradigm shifts within the public sector in recent years is the trend towards greater collaboration. This can be seen in action in the North West where 10 unitary councils have come together under the banner of AGMA since 2011. The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities is a partnership whereby authorities co-operate to exploit ways of improving...
23 June 2015 - 8:07, by , in Blog, Comments off
Collaboration can be complex, involving new frameworks or merging of services. Or it can be as simple as making a phone call to achieve significant results. The prize is reduced spend; cost savings that squeeze more out of your budget without significantly affecting service levels and efficiency. Andrew Coulcher, Director of the Business Solutions division of CIPS, stated “There are significant savings to be made if you can go to the market with a single voice,” on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show. He was stating the obvious to underline a point but it is the essence of collaborative procurement. The most basic level of collaboration is for two or more public sector organisation to pool their requirements for a specific service. So, instead of a supplier being asked to tender for 100 oranges, the value of the contract is now 5,000 units, which demands a significantly lower unit price. The illustration is deliberately simplistic to emphasise the central point that can get lost in a quagmire of distractions and excuses, ranging from overarching frameworks to mere lack of precedent in an organisation’s procurement process. It is not difficult to organise. It requires only two things: 1 – a spark...