Supplier certificates – a lever for negotiations?

Another couple of thoughts on the “certificates of performance” initiative introduced by the Cabinet Office last week.  Suppliers will be asked to produce these to show past performance when they’re bidding for new major central government contracts.

These points actually came from a discussion with some public sector procurement folk - I was impressed with how much thinking they'd already done about the whole process!

1. It will be a challenge for procurement to control who in their own organisation is signing off certificates. So if the major IT supplier approaches a friendly manager in the technology area, who says, “sure, I’ll sign that for you”, is that acceptable? How do we make sure the view expressed of the supplier is a genuine “corporate” view of performance?

2. More positively perhaps, will we see some interesting negotiations going on?  “I’ll sign your certificate if you do that upgrade we’ve been discussing free of charge”.  Now I’m not averse to using every tool possible in negotiations, but we could see some dangers also in this approach , and it would hardly be in the spirit of objective assessment of supplier performance which Cabinet Office wants to see.

There are positives of course around this, but we’ll have to see whether they outweigh the additional bureaucracy. The danger is it becomes yet another factor that makes the public sector look less and less attractive for many suppliers.

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Voices (3)

  1. PlanBee:

    I just had a wild thought. How about if CIPS qualified individuals were the only staff able to sign them off. This would give some meat to the ‘licensed to buy’ lobby and would provide some level of enforced engagement. It would also force Procurement to face up to the succesful or unsuccseful implementation of the deals that they have done.

    1. Sam Unkim:

      “How about if CIPS qualified individuals were the only staff able to sign them off.”
      Like ….a lot

  2. flog:

    In Ireland, the use of Certificates of Satisfactory Execution are used as part of the selection process in works contracts. When I’ve see them used recently they appear to be signed by the Applicant submitting its Expression of Interest rather than the client organisation – because people got fed up being asked to sign them or being asked to sign about a project where they were less than ‘satisfied with its execution’. So, now it would seem that most of the documents have become ‘self certification’ evidence.

    So let me think, how did I do on that last piece of work? Did I complete is satisfactorily? Not really, but hey ho, I’m signing this myself, and I did just great!!

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