Public sector procurement manager? Up against the wall, Enemy of Enterprise!

Are you a public sector procurement professional?  The Prime Minister has you in his sights.

The BBC reports this morning that he will say this in his speech to the Tory Spring conference.

On a practical level, the prime minister will promise to open up government procurement to more small businesses.

"I can announce today that we are taking on the enemies of enterprise," he will say.

"The bureaucrats in government departments who concoct those ridiculous rules and regulations that make life impossible for small firms...

The public sector procurement managers who think that the answer to everything is a big contract with a big business and who shut out millions of Britain's small and medium sized companies from a massive potential market."

So now you know. It's all your fault. YOU are an "enemy of enterprise". The entire failure of this country to thrive is YOUR FAULT! Nothing to do with budget deficits, ridiculous bureaucracy imposed on business by successive Governments and the EU, Ministers who change their minds every ten minutes and make cr***y commercial decisions for political reasons.....*

We'll come back to this extraordinary claim later this coming week... and I'd like to see CIPS, SOPO and a few other people saying something on the topic as well.

*e.g. aircraft carriers, ID Cards, GP Commissioning...

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Voices (8)

  1. Guy:


    you generously assumed it iss my typing thats at fault rather than my spelling!

  2. Rob:

    Looks like too much French wine methinks

  3. ron:

    Guy – that consistently bad at typing though?

  4. Matt:

    A considered and well informed comment from Mr Cameron, a lot of local authorities do all they can to support SME’s (within the scope of the EU regulations). How about all that OGC guidance as well… Aggregation – Is bigger always better? / Small supplier better value?

  5. Guy:

    I have not worked in the public sector, but it always felt that we were far more conscentious at following the rules than our European cousins. We cant be that consistnely bad at business that our water and energy suppliers are owned by the French, without some level of equivalent in roads by the Brisitsh into the French marketplace

  6. Dan:

    Rob, old joke for you about the EU:

    The Germans make rules
    The British obey the rules
    The Italians break the rules
    The French ignore the rules

  7. Christine Morton:

    So are we leaving the EU, then?

  8. Rob:

    Digby Jones (ex-DG of the CBI) told me this interesting story.

    When EU legislation was brought in, declaring that cooked and raw (uncooked) meat could not no longer co-exist in the same environment, we (the UK) employed and deployed 100 inspectors to systematically ‘inspect’ and subsequently close many butcher shops across the country (small enterprises and local businesses). Many years later, in France, you could still find cooked and uncooked meat in the same butcher, on the same shelf. Why? Because there was only one inspector in the entire country and he lived on Corsica.

    It seems that, in respect of EU legislation, we (the UK) had to be the very best in Europe at implementing it. And who drove through this philosophy at that time, to such an extreme? Step forward, Margaret Thatcher.

    This isn’t a political statement. But perhaps it is a reflection upon the potential reason as to why so many procurement managers in the public sector are so risk averse, and have been so, for so many years.

    I also remember (in 2003, when working in a major authority) approaching a global ERP provider with the concept of embedding a public sector version within their procurement/supply chain software suite – to essentially automate many aspect of the regulated procurement process. They responded that they would only do so (for free) if there was a similar level of interest from other European countries. Three months later (having spoken to all of the major PS clients) – they came back with a resounding ‘non’ – not one other country was interested, not even for free. It seems that they didn’t embrace EU regs to the same level as we did in the UK….

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