Book News: July 2nd, 2009

By Doug Forbes,

This paper by the Director of the Institute of Commissioning Professionals argues that public sector procurement arrangements are cumbersome, slow and ineffective for the buyer and the seller. The Institute calls for the development of agile procurement which is permissible under EU regulations.

There is discontent about current public procurement arrangements among procurers, firms, contractors and the NCVO and CBI. The private sector collectively can spend £30,000 for one firm to make £10,000 profit. Councils are reporting fleet acquisition exercises taking two years with excessive cost being incurred in the short term to keep an aging fleet on the road. Then only to find there is no finance available for the leasing deal. So the contract was awarded to an existing supplier. Facilities management contracts are also taking two years and being frustrated as the firms go into liquidation.

Agile Procurement is fitter, faster, hates sclerotic tendencies, is flexible, works locally and ensures probity, health and safety, social, environmental and Competition Act compliance. The EU Procurement Directive allows for the use of Dynamic Procurement Systems.

A Dynamic Procurement System will deliver an agile process. It is a wholly electronic system which is open to participants who meet the quality and price criteria. It lowers costs by engaging with Small and Medium Size Enterprises directly, cutting out the framework operator. As well as lower costs it speeds communications.

A Dynamic Procurement System helps innovation because it is focused on SMEs and encourages them to qualify for contracts, delivers innovation and cuts down lead times. Because there is improved transparency and an electronic selection providing audit trails, it supports EU compliance.

The Institute has urged the government to agree to promote the new thinking of Agile Procurement and to promote the use of Dynamic Procurement Systems.

Agile Procurement is available from the IoCP