This Week’s Summary of Articles from Public Spend Matters Europe

Here's a summary of our stories from around Europe on Public Spend Matters Europe this week. There’s a new article every day so the volume of diverse and interesting reads is really starting to mount up and many are attracting comments from experts. Each Friday, we are featuring a brief summary of the main articles published that week on PSME. If you see something of interest, please click through and take a look at the whole thing.

 

Can Public Procurement Learn from the Private Sector? A Cautionary Tale

Public sector procurement still seems to have an inferiority complex compared to the private sector. This is true, we suspect, around Europe, although it is the UK where we see most evidence of this. In this article we write about how private sector procurement is perceived as more dynamic, more commercial and generally better negotiators than their public sector equivalents. Yet there is little real evidence that this is the case, and indeed it seems all too common to find that a private sector organisation, held up to be a great example of excellence, proves to be nothing of the sort. We take a look at Tesco.

 

TTIP Deal Draws Further Protests Across EU

A Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership deal to replace “Buy American” programmes with a “Buy Transatlantic” initiative, slashing trade tariffs between the US and EU and removing regulatory trade barriers, has provoked widespread protests across the EU. Doubts have been raised about the effect of the deal. Groups in the US have said that it would undermine local decision-making and efforts to promote local economies. Meanwhile, there are concerns in Europe over the US’s insistence that EU adhere to similar standards in food safety, energy and other sectors.

 

Corruption – the Siemens Story and Thoughts on the New Procurement Directives

Two corruption stories from Wales Procurement Week. The first talks about how, following a string of high-profile bribery scandals, involving officials all over the world from Nigeria to Norway, Siemens had to go through a “self-cleansing” exercise in order to be allowed to bid again for government contracts. The second focuses on how, in Germany, bribes to foreign governments were, until relatively recently, tax deductible! It then moves on to the new EU directives and the concept that firms that can take action to write-off their previous bad behaviour.

 

‘MEAT’ Procurement Shift Needed in Railway Industry

European railways were urged to rethink their approach to procurement at a recent Railway Forum in Berlin. It discussed the importance of purchasing equipment and systems that would be most economically advantageous, rather than simply choosing the lowest tender. Given that rail structures and equipment usually last for decades, there should be more focus given to life-cycle costs, product quality and longevity, as well as suppliers’ technical ability and expertise. The rail industry was told it should emulate other organisations that follow the ‘Meat’ principle.

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