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May 2011

Procurement In Local Government

Procurement In Local Government

I am really fearful of what the next few years has in-store for the industry on both sides of local government procurement, client and supplier.

In recent years, we have seen the growth of the “procurement profession” which has been allowed to take control of all procurement activities from pens and pencils to multimillion-pound infrastructure schemes. No doubt some changes were required as there had been a number mistakes on the procurement front and engineers had left themselves open to challenge through not understanding procurement rules and regulations and when they did understand them, ignoring them. However, what has resulted is a de-skilling on the engineering profession and the “procurement professionals” driving procurement without understanding the service or product that is being sought. This often results in inappropriate forms of contract being used or ridiculously convoluted and tortuous processes put in place to procure what should be a straightforward service. In addition, meaningless, unnecessary and costly conditions and requirements are allowed to creep into PQQs and contracts without challenge. For instance, does an organisation really need to provide £5m of motor insurance cover to provide in-house training? Where is the risk assessment to back this requirement up?

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