May 17, 2020

Public Contract Scotland Launches Procurement App

sectors/procurement/public-contract-scotland-launches-procur
Freddie Pierce
1 min
Public Contract Scotland launches iPhone app

The PCS procurement app will give access to contract notices as they are posted, enabling businesses to cash in on the public sector market, which is w...

The PCS procurement app will give access to contract notices as they are posted, enabling businesses to cash in on the public sector market, which is worth £9 billion annually.

The app works with Apple iPhones and iPads, and there are plans to roll it out to other mobile phone models.

Working alongside the PCS portal, both of which are free of charge, the technology is designed to make public sector purchasing more efficient.

The PCS portal is part of the Scottish Government’s Public Procurement Reform Programme which aims to drive up standards in public sector procurement.

Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said at the National Procurement Conference in Glasgow: “Driving forward efficiency in public sector procurement enables the delivery of improved public services at a reduced cost, and has a direct impact on the Scottish economy.

“The portal, and now the PCS app, make contract opportunities even more accessible to suppliers; are helping to make public sector procurement more transparent and competitive; and play key roles in achieving efficiency improvements,” Sturgeon added.

PCS acknowledged that the app recognizes the importance of SMEs to the public sector. SMEs make up 80 percent of current suppliers and account for 40-50 percent of spend to contracting organizations across the country.

Edited by Abigail Phillips

Download the PCS App 

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Jun 10, 2021

Will Public Procurement Budgets Increase in 2021?

supplychain
Procurement
budgets
strategies
3 min
Often overlooked, government procurement professionals will play a critical role in helping communities, and local businesses recover from the pandemic

Procurement is more than just a private enterprise. COVID-19 reminded us that sourcing materials is an essential part of the government’s role. Throughout 2022, tiny departments sourced massive amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and emergency vaccines and testing kits. Even non-procurement professionals were pulled into the fray, as frantic timelines demanded nothing less. 

According to Celeste Frye, co-founder and CEO of Public Works Partners, the crisis brought procurement to the attention of skilled employees who had never considered it. As non-procurement personnel stepped up to help their coworkers, many found that they’d stumbled upon a critical and rewarding job. “Existing public employees have seen the essential nature of the work”, Frye said. “[They’ve] gained some critical skills and possibly [grown] interested in pursuing procurement as a longer-term career”. 

Small, Local Suppliers Take Charge

Frye, whose firm helps organisations engage stakeholders and develop long-term procurement strategies, thinks it well worth the effort to open one’s mind to new opportunities. Cooperative contracts, for instance, can help public departments and municipalities save money, time, and effort. By joining together with other towns or cities in the region, public procurement teams aggregate their purchasing power and can drive better deals. 

These cooperative contracts have the added benefit of advancing equity. Smaller suppliers that struggle to compete with established firms for government contracts can act as subcontractors, helping big suppliers fulfil bits of the project. Once they get their foot in the door, small, local, and disadvantaged suppliers can then leverage that government relationship to take on additional projects. 

Especially as governments start to pay attention to procurement resilience, public procurement departments must expand their requests for proposals (RFPs) to take into account innovative solutions and diverse suppliers. According to Frye, Public Works Partners—a certified female-owned firm—has benefitted from local and state requirements that specify diversity. 

Post-Pandemic Funding Swells Procurement Budgets 

And the pandemic won’t be the end of it. City governments need to build sustainable energy infrastructure such as solar panels, charging stations, and recycling plants, ensure that masks and medicines are never in short supply, and source new technologies to keep up with cloud and cybersecurity concerns. 

Public procurement budgets will likely increase to match demand. As Peter Ware, Partner and Head of Government at Browne Jacobson, explained, “in a non-pandemic world, the [U.K.] government spends on average around £290 billion on outsourced services, goods, and works...anywhere between 10% and 14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Post-pandemic, city procurement will only increase as national governments provide local divisions with emergency funding.
And in truth, government employees might jump at the opportunity. Frye noted that public procurement could give immediate feedback on new programmes: “[Procurement] is where new laws and policies ‘hit the road’ and are implemented”, she said. “Professionals in these fields get the satisfaction of creating real change and seeing quantifiable outcomes of their work”.

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