JAGGAER Whitepaper: Best Public Sector Procurement Practices
We’re taking a look at JAGGAER’s whitepaper, which reveals how national and regional authorities can catch up with the best global procurement practices.
The whitepaper, which can be downloaded here, explores how central and local governments around the world have been having to “do more with less” whilst meeting increasingly stringent directives and regulatory frameworks. Technology can be the key to answering these challenges in front-line delivery.
Electoral cycles, bad publicity concerns, a lack of clear criteria for evaluations and a lack of digital skills tend to be the biggest limiters to governments, both on a national and regional scale. To keep up with best practices in procurement, organisations must invest in procurement skills, centralise purchasing where possible, consolidate spend data, transition to digital supplier and contract management, and implement a risk management strategy.
Spend visibility is essential, but very difficult to provide when working in the public sector. A lack of visibility will result in a lack of leverage over spend. There is often very little information that is detailed enough to provide governments with an insight into procurement, even in major spend categories. This leaves them without the data needed to quantify spend with any individual supplier.
Integrating public sector procurement bodies with national and multinational systems is also essential to ensuring source-to-pay success. Within the European Union (EU), tenders above a certain level must be submitted through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), and supplier information is kept within a single procurement document. This ensures a single version of the truth, and greatly improves transparency.
Sustainability, local employment issues and other corporate social responsibility (CSR) challenges must also be addressed by governments. The UK’s Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 means all public sector organisations must consider economic, social and environmental wellbeing. All UK-based public bodies must think about how the services commissioned might improve social, economic and environmental wellbeing in the area.
This Act ensures that public spending can be leveraged in all three recognised pillars of sustainable development - social, economic and environmental.
Ethical and moral behaviour should uphold every value of a public service, ensuring impartiality, accountability and transparency. Procurement professionals need to ensure they are always working to regulatory frameworks.
One of the biggest things limiting public sector organisations from overcoming these challenges is the lack of investment in procurement skillsets. The US-based Public Spend Forum recently stated: “The role of procurement in the government space is overlooked and thought of as a clerical role. But when you consider these individuals are responsible for purchasing goods and services that total $2 trillion a year in government dollars, the importance of the role becomes much more obvious.”
It is essential to ensure that the people supporting public policies, from infrastructure improvements through to national security, are properly supported, trained and educated to ensure all decisions made are correct.