Public Spend Forum Europe – Public Procurement Highlights from this Week

Public Spend Forum Europe is dedicated to European public sector procurement, and aims to be a global community and knowledge network for public procurement and the public sector market. Around Europe, we are talking about well over a trillion Euros of money from taxpayers and citizens being spent by government and public sector bodies of some sort. Worth doing well, you might consider. So here is a roundup of what we were discussing this week. If you find anything interesting, please click through to the full article:

Social Audits in the Supply Chain – 'A Diagnostic Tool that Doesn’t Fix Things'

Social audits (evaluation carried out at the supplier’s factory (or premises) in relation to the policies and code of conduct of the purchaser) as a tool to carry out responsible management of the supply chain. How effective are they? Here are some limitations we recently read about -- some, quite startling. But as reader comments point out - until the c-suite is convinced by high-profile episodes ... (or until Western society kicks its addiction to cheap goods), then factory audits remain the best tool we have. And -- the more responsibilities you pile on procurers, the more likely it is that it all becomes a box ticking exercise!

DWP, Welfare-to-Work and the Permanence of Recently Created Markets

One of the toughest tasks in government procurement is creating new markets where established suppliers simply don’t exist. It is vital in such cases to create a competitive situation, as well as developing providers who can actually provide what is needed. It is usually services where this occurs; perhaps the military area is the one example where the same principles might occasionally apply to “goods”. But certainly, in the UK, market creation has been focused on areas where government has looked for innovative services - or for the private sector to take on work that was previously executed in house by government itself. There has probably been an assumption that once the demand for these services was established, it was unlikely to disappear - think again!

Software Firm Gatewit Loses License To Operate Portuguese Government Tendering

Portuguese software firm Gatewit has been removed from the list of firms that are allowed to run public sector procurement exercises in that country. Portugal is one of the few European countries that has mandated the use of e-tendering, and a handful of firms have software that contracting authorities (users) are allowed to operate to carry out public procurement exercises. Gatewit was one of those. Gatewit was accused of operating in a manner that meant suppliers were effectively pushed into paying in order to submit tender documents and proposals, something that is completely forbidden in Portugal and by the latest EU Directives.

Inequality, Government Contractors, Good Intentions and Impractical Ideas

There is a perception that inequality is a growing problem. Those in society who feel they have missed out economically and socially look at those at the top of the ladder who seem to be getting more and more affluent. And politicians are looking for ways to address this issue, yet every time a real proposal is made, the difficulty of coming up with anything that is workable and won’t cause huge economic damage becomes clear. That applies to last week’s speech from Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s Labour Party -- we discuss.

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