Problems with procurement still exist, says CBI

Tuesday 13 November 2012

The government still has plenty of room for improvement where public procurement is concerned.

That is the verdict from UK businesses surveyed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), on the back of the West Coast mainline rail franchise debacle.

As the taxpayer counts the cost of another flawed procurement process, UK companies have given the government a score of 5/10 on implementation of procurement reform.

Achieving faster procurement scored just 4/10 as businesses expressed dissatisfaction with the way the government hands out contracts to private sector suppliers.

According to the CBI, the public sector spends £230 billion a year purchasing goods and services from independent businesses.

But CBI director general John Cridland said the recent problems over the procurement of the West Coast franchise have once again highlighted the challenge the public sector faces in its relationship with the private sector.

“As the complexity of deals increases, we need to see urgent improvement in the level of commercial skills that are second-nature to businesses, but are too often absent in public sector procurement," he stated.

"And more contracts should be focused on agreed outcomes, which deliver certainty and value for the taxpayer."

Posted by Dan Smith