The Spend Matters Network launched its latest website recently: Public Spend Matters Europe. The site is focused on government procurement news and issues from all around Europe. And, what better person to lead it than Peter Smith, current managing editor of Spend Matters UK, and a man with many years of experience in the public procurement sector.
Peter was formerly procurement director for the U.K. government 's largest civil department, the Department of Social Security, as it was called back in the 1990s when he worked there. He said this was the “most interesting job I have ever done.” While he faced all the normal challenges of procurement managers working at private companies, there were “at least two more dimensions” to the job.
These, he explained, were rooted in politics. As a public procurement officer, he was buying on behalf of the citizen, using taxpayer dollars. So, Peter explained, you had to keep the citizens happy, but you also had to keep the politicians happy.
“There are some challenges there that you don’t see at other private companies,” Peter said. “You don’t have to think about these things. That makes [public procurement] really, really challenging,interesting and important.”
Contributors and content
Peter has also worked as a procurement consultant around a number of public sector organizations. That includes being an adviser to the U.K.'s National Audit Office for some years on procurement issues, and getting involved in a number of the reports they have written reviewing various public spending issues.
His years in the procurement industry means he has a wealth of information to share with our readers about public spend in Europe. For the moment, Peter is the website’s main contributor, along with Nancy Clinton, editor for Spend Matters in Europe, but shortly we will see guest contributors from various European countries who can add valuable content to the space.
The website targets four main audiences: practitioners, suppliers, government "policy makers,” and academics. While educating industry professionals is certainly at the top of the list when it comes to goals for our new EU site, impacting policy in a positive way would be a huge plus. According to Peter, the website has the potential to introduce public spend issues to government policy makers, and even influence future regulations in areas such as the use of technology in public procurement, for instance. Make sure to check out the new website for coverage on this important industry.