I wrote some while back about the publication of the Government’s Green Paper, Transforming Public Procurement. I was reminded today (thank you, Sarah Crawley) that the consultation on these proposed changes closes on the 10th March.
If, like me, you are struggling to fully understand the implications this Green Paper may have for social sector organisations, then some of the heavy lifting in analysis has been done. And make no mistake — concern regarding at least some of the proposals is mounting.
NCVO believes that in seeking to slash red tape and simplify procurement rules too little thought has been given to the commissioning of services as opposed to the purchase of goods and works. A new “one-size-fits-all approach”, NCVO’s Rebecca Young says in this blog post, will encourage authorities “to design services to fit the procurement process rather than the other way around”.
Lloyds Bank Foundation echoes this same point: “In trying to simplify the rules, the Government proposes bringing together lots of different rules into one. The collateral damage in doing so is to assume that purchasing paper clips for Whitehall requires the same process as funding wrap-around support for someone facing homelessness in Port Talbot.”
Locality has a very useful blog post written by Julian Blake, a partner at Stone King LLP, which argues that services should be procured simply and collaboratively and should be “local by default”. Locality argues that public procurement can and should play a key role in how local authorities shape local places and support local wealth creation.
A piece on the Homecare Insight blog by Matthew Wort, a partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors, makes similar arguments but usefully suggests that in the limited time now left those wishing to contribute to the government’s consultation should focus their fire on two questions:
Q8. Are there areas where our proposed reforms could go further to foster more effective innovation in procurement?
Q9. Are there specific issues you have faced when interacting with contracting authorities that have not been raised here and which inhibit the potential for innovative solutions or ideas?
I hope some of these pointers are useful to anyone looking to make a last minute contribution to this Green Paper consultation.