Working with local authorities--a view from the coal face.(Procurement)

The Public Sector Authority (PSA) marketplace is worth 140bn [pounds sterling] per year in supplier contracts, making this one of the largest buying sectors in the UK. The media, however, has recently reported on the frustrations of the supplier to work with local government. If there is a communication void between the two parties perhaps it needs an intermediary to explain how it is from the coalface

The landscape of public sector procurement has undergone a paradigm shift in the last few years with radical central government-based initiatives being dictated that fundamentally affect the way that every PSA is being tasked to perform and be accountable for its procurement related activities. In order to fully understand the relationship between the PSA and the supplier, it is important to look at this market from both angles. From the PSA perspective there have been five main areas of concern:


PSA procurement has for decades relied on relationships between local officers and their (often local) suppliers. This traditional way of doing business has sometimes led to an emphasis on convenience rather than value for money and quality as the reason for making the purchasing decision. Local authorities can be in a position to dictate terms and conditions to great effect, but this decentralised approach to buying can severely negate that possibility.


It is generally accepted that purchasing decisions based purely on price will inevitably lead to longer-term problems, Now quality and service components must be considered in all buying decisions. …

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