Announcing Spend Matters’ Latest Venture: Public Spend Forum

We’re thrilled to announce today our latest and arguably most important site launch in years: Public Spend Forum. Public Spend Forum is a joint effort between Spend Matters / Azul Partners and Censeo Consulting Group, a firm that specializes in public sector procurement and supply chain consulting. In less than a decade its launch, Censeo has become one of the preeminent consultancies in public sector procurement. But they’re not out simply to increase the size of their practice. They’re on a mission to redefine public sector procurement.

Indeed, Public Spend Forum would not be possible without the deep public sector expertise and enthusiasm that the Censeo team brings. My co-founder of Public Spend Forum, Raj Sharma, who is also the founder and CEO of Censeo, often tells colleagues, “Now, let’s go change the world.” And he truly means it. Raj is on a mission to improve public sector outcomes. He knows that creating such a revolution can’t be done just by advising key stakeholders in government. It must become a self-sustaining movement based on ideas that inspire what public sector procurement is capable of achieving.

This is where Public Spend Forum comes into the equation – for both Raj and me. The two of us don’t simply want to create a new successful site. We believe that the world can be a better place if public sector organizations approached spending more efficiently and effectively. Perhaps the role that purchased and measured outcomes can play for government organizations (versus those delivered from within) will evolve.

As we note in our Welcome Letter on the site:

7 trillion dollars.

20% of GDP of some countries.

Roughly 20% of your own paycheck.

If you thought procurement in the public sector is not important, think again. Not only are the numbers staggering, procurement is critical to everything governments large or small do. And it’s your money.

Whether it is a local municipality or the U.S. federal government, the public sector relies on private sector companies, non-profits, universities and others to address massively complex problems such as protecting our borders, ensuring we have safe drinking water, building critical infrastructure, and supporting our economy. More often than not, effective delivery of any government service is dependent upon effective procurement.

As all political parties know, we can debate the merits of spending of any sort. But there’s not enough pragmatic, objective discourse on what constitutes the effective execution of spending once policy is defined and programs are put into place. Most constituents (and even many policymakers) are unaware that external spending dwarfs other public sector expenditures, including payroll. And this trend is even growing.

Yet procurement is not viewed as strategic–not in the least. The fact is that procurement in the public sector is often treated as a stepchild. Too many people see it as a back-office process, so it doesn’t receive the resources or the leadership attention required to manage massive amounts of taxpayer dollars. Yet procurement is where the majority of government spending occurs!

Better public sector procurement can unite us in a time of partisanship and disagreement. We look forward to having you join us in our mission to change public sector outcomes and spending by participating in the community, encouraging professionals at the federal, state, and local levels to come together and learn, and share tips and tactics that cross the procurement discipline. Public Spend Forum will cover a range of topics, including how government can drive better strategic sourcing, category management, customer/demand management, organizational design/structure, procurement IT systems, maturity models, spend visibility & analysis, supplier relationship management, and sustainability outcomes.

Please join us on Public Spend Forum as we try to improve how governments can get more for every dollar they spend.  After all, even though we might not all agree on spending policy, at least we can all come together in hopes of achieving better and more efficient government outcomes through improving and redefining the role of public sector procurement in our lives. It matters to all of us. As we observe on the site:

Our goal in launching the Public Spend Forum is nothing short of changing the current dynamic and helping usher in a new era for procurement in the public sector, one where we stop the hemorrhaging of taxpayer dollars and ensure that the procurement system is a key partner in creating real value for citizens. Better procurement equals better government. For all. Regardless of politics or policy.

And that, our friends, is why we’re doing this.

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