Public versus private sector procurement – eWorld Survey (part 2)

Yesterday, we introduced the survey we carried out with the organisers of eWorld recently – we also presented some high level results at that event.

So today let's look at the public sector and how our 200 respondents rated public procurement against a number of factors. We gave nine key factors and asked people to rate them as weak, fair or strong. Here are the overall ratings for “strong” for each sector.

Overall “strong” scores

Commercial sector

Public sector

People

48.3

23.3

Training

25.6

28.4

Understanding markets

66.5

11.9

Sourcing / CatMan

46.0

17.6

Governance & compliance

15.9

52.8

P2P

23.9

25.6

Use of technology

45.5

13.6

Contract / supplier management

36.4

14.2

Commercial awareness of non-procurement staff

26.1

1.7

Average

37.1

21.0

So perhaps not surprisingly, the whole sample perceives private sector to be significantly “better” than the public in total– but public sector scores better on training, governance and P2P (interestingly).

When we look at how the different sectors scored themselves, and the “other” sector, we get some interesting discrepancies though. Here's how each sub-group rated the public (government) sector.

“Strong” Scores for the PUBLIC sector

Scores given by Commercial sector

Scores given by Public sector

People

15.3

30.8

Training

24.7

31.9

Understanding markets

11.8

12.1

Sourcing / CatMan

12.9

22.0

Governance & compliance

45.9

59.3

P2P

21.2

29.7

Use of technology

8.2

18.7

Contract / supplier management

15.3

13.2

Commercial awareness of non-procurement staff

1.2

2.2

Average

17.4

24.4

Generally, the public sector gave itself an overall average "score" of 24.4, whilst the private sector looking from the outside scored the public sector at 17.4. Now you can argue this shows that the private sector is  underrating the public, perhaps because of the generally negative media coverage we often see for public procurement. That’s if you trust the views of the insiders of course – alternatively you may think it is the public sector over-rating itself!

But anyway, in areas such as people and use of technology there are significant differences – but the commercial sector actually thinks contract management is slightly better than people within the sector perceive it to be.

So now let's look at the ratings for the private / commercial sector.

“Strong” scores for the COMMERCIAL sector

Scores given by Commercial sector

Scores given by Public sector

People

64.7

33.0

Training

27.1

24.2

Understanding markets

62.4

70.3

Sourcing / CatMan

45.9

46.2

Governance & compliance

21.2

11

P2P

25.9

22

Use of technology

44.7

46.2

Contract / supplier management

34.1

38.5

Commercial awareness of non-procurement staff

23.5

28.6

Average

38.8

35.6

We can see that the overall average score the sector awarded itself is 38.8, whilst the public sector scored it as 35.6.  So again, the outside view under-rates the performance as perceived from the inside, but by much less than we saw for the public sector. The public sector underrates particularly on people and governance, but overrates the private on a number of factors - so the insiders rate contract management (again), commercial awareness of non-procurement staff and understanding markets lower than the outsiders!

As well as the overall scores being higher for private sector than for the public, the public sector actually rates the private more highly than it rates itself.

Private sector rating itself            38.8

Public sector rating private          35.6

Public sector rating itself               24.4

Private sector rating public          17.4

More in part 3!

First Voice

  1. Ian R:

    Interesting Peter, and I’m not too surprised by some of these numbers, coupled with the neurosis in most public sector professionals, who I suspect have a tendency to beat themselves up by rating themselves lower than they actually are. I’ve met many who are highly skilled and acheive a great deal considering the resource and profile that public sector hasn’t had in recent years.

    Most worrying is the desperately low score given to non-procurement staff. If true, and I wouldn’t argue that it isn’t, then we should really be making a much more forthright case for skilled procurement people to have greater control over public spending, and I work in an environment where plenty of the 1.7% do their own procurement…………….

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