Public Spend Matters Europe – Highlights from Last Week, This Week!

Staples Office Depot merger

We are back with our Friday rundown of  what we have published for you on our site dedicated to exciting and fascinating matters connected with European public sector procurement - Public Spend Matters Europe.  And before you even think about switching off ... 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.

Owing to some strange technical hitch our summary for last week didn't publish -- so here's a quick recap; if you find anything interesting for you please do click through to the full article:

Early Career Procurement Researcher Conference - London, March 4th

Dr Pedro Telles from Swansea University is involved as an organiser (along with Dr. Ama Eyo of Bangor University and Dr. Albert Sanchez-Graells of the University of Bristol) in "a one day conference for Early Career Researcher Public Procurement Conference at the Centre for Transnational Legal Studies in London on March 4th. Early Career Researchers will have the opportunity to present their research on a non-threatening environment, benefiting from presenting at a leading international conference early in their career and getting expert commentary on their research."  There will also be a "speed dating" mentoring session in the afternoon and a dinner; and speakers can get travel expenses paid up to £350, which is even better news. So this sounds like a good opportunity for researchers to get some exposure and I assume feedback on their work.

The Unpredictability of Public Procurement - Floods, Snowdrifts and Vaccines

What makes public sector procurement so fascinating, difficult and unpredictable? Whilst it can also be frustrating, challenging and just plain difficult, there are apsects of buying with public money that are not often replicated in the business world. The difficulty of forecasting demand is one of those aspects that does have some parallels in the private sector, but perhaps has more extreme examples in the state arena. One recent example we have seen in the north of England recently (but is far from unique to the UK) is around flood defences and other supplies linked to extreme weather. Other than pointing out that this is yet another challenge for public sector buyers, what can we recommend?

SMEs and Public Sector Procurement – An SME’s Perspective (Part 1)

This is a very good two-part response to our article on "Small Businesses – How Can They Win More Government Contracts?”  Guest author, Peter Stuttard, who founded and has run an SME in the UK Defence sector for the past 20 years and has worked, in one guise or another, in the Defence sector for 40 years in total, gives us his view on SMEs from an SME's own perspective. One of the oft quoted constraints, he says, on the engagement of SMEs is the fact that many large contracts are simply not suitable for SMEs, this is self-evident, but it is the manner in which such contracts are let that is the problem, not the scope of the contracts per se. The argument broadens ...

SMEs and Public Sector Procurement – An SME’s Perspective (Part 2)

Peter continues his viewpoints: There is a more or less constant downward pressure on the funding, and hence on the manning levels, of procurement organisations; this situation is used to make a case for collective procurement arrangements. Whilst the financial pressure is very real, the arguments for increased collective procurement are often seriously flawed. There are two strong counter arguments ...

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