Public Spend Forum Europe – Public Procurement Highlights from this Week

Public Spend Forum Europe is dedicated to European public sector procurement, and aims to be a global community and knowledge network for public procurement and the public sector market. Around Europe, we are talking about well over a trillion Euros of money from taxpayers and citizens being spent by government and public sector bodies of some sort. Worth doing well, you might consider. So here is a roundup of what we were discussing this week.

National Audit Office Best Practice Guidance (Part 5) – Clarify Commercial and Operational Balance

The UK’s National Audit Office issued a very useful document called “Commercial and contract management: insights and emerging best practice”. We are delving into the detail and reviewing its content and findings. Today, we take a look at the fourth of the NAO insights - “Clarify commercial and operational balance”. This falls under the wider heading of  “commercial capability” and covers issues around the team involved in major contracts on the buy-side.

The Robots Are Coming - Is Public Procurement Safe?

We attended Day 2 of Procurement Week in London, themed Procuring a Connected Living: The Internet of Things (IoT). The presentations focused on how the world of procurement (and citizens) will change, and how we will approach buying differently and whether the procurement professional will ever be replaced by a robot. The premise is that in 10 years’ time, everything around us will be connected – homes, offices, vehicles, public and private spaces, health services and so on – via smart devices. So here is an overview of what was discussed.

Buying Professional Services - Developing Requirements and Specifications

This is the latest in a series of guides to buying professional services. The requirements and specification define what it is that the buying organisation wants the supplier to do. Getting this element of the process right enables the buyer to choose the best supplier to carry out the work and deliver the right outcomes. Getting it wrong will, almost inevitably, lead to disaster. So, just what is the difference between a requirement and a specification?

NDA Procurement Challenge - Taxpayer Pays Out £100 Million. Yes, That's £100 Million

We have already written about the very interesting – and somewhat shocking – court case around the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s contract to clean up old nuclear power stations. It involved a challenge by Energy Solutions Ltd. who were the incumbent supplier for a huge contract to do this. They lost the tender, run by contracting authority the NDA, to a Babcock Fluor consortium. The procurement process was challenged by the unsuccessful bidder, who won their case. We indicated at the time that it was unlikely NDA would appeal the decision as some of its claims would be 'laughable' if it weren't for the £100 million bill for the taxpayer that their incompetence is likely to cost us. Well, guess what!

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