The lose:lose situation for public sector procurement

Blimey, I'm glad I'm not a public procurement manager these days! If it's not being called an "enemy of enterprise" by the Top Man, you get some committee having a go at you for being over reliant on a single supplier. Here is the BBC reporting the UK parliament's Home Affairs Committee, discussing the sourcing of 'Tasers' for the police service.

The MPs also question the adequacy of having "a monopoly supplier business model in police procurement"

Well, one would have to agree as a procurement professional of course. So let's spread the business around a bit more? No, that's not right either. You get Eric Pickles, Teresa May, and half the Cabinet beating you up for not aggregating and leveraging spend. Nick Herbert, Police Minster, just the other day, as the BBC again reported,

"said there were ways in which police forces could save money, such as combining their procurement"

So we should centralise our procurement, and use our volume to drive better deals.  But then won't that make me over reliant on a single supplier...??

You can't win. Stick the yellow pages down my trousers and I'll take my caning...

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Voices (3)

  1. Peter Smith:

    Not sure what you mean by ‘different categories’? Tasers would seem to be a good category to aggregate. The correct ‘exam answer’ is of course to aggregate demand without aggregating supply; come up with a sourcing strategy that doesn’t end up in a monopoly situation. But my point still holds; I think public procurement people are in a slightly “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation at the moment re collaboration versus SMEs and monopolies. It IS possible to get a happy medium, I accept, via skilled procurement work – but it isn’t easy!

  2. Dan:

    One more reason why you shouldn’t listen to MPs….

  3. Alex:

    We’re surely talking about different categories of police spend though?

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