Procurement Reform: What did we learn?
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Procurement Reform: What did we learn?

20 July 2022 By Amy Clark – Category Buyer of HR Services at YPO

Writing in notebook

Following our webinars in May regarding upcoming procurement reform, it feels appropriate to look back and see what we learned from our colleagues.

We’ve now seen many references to ‘unleashing procurement’, but what is this likely to mean? Throughout the webinars in May, we suggested that unleashing procurement might only be achieved through the new proposed legislation if we also see a change within public sector organisations.

What did we learn in May?

During the webinars, we conducted a few audience polls. One of which focussed on the change within the new legislation from MEAT to MAT (Most Economically Advantageous Tender/Most Advantageous Tender).

For those who attended the session, you will know that I believe this change in acronym doesn’t have a big impact in a practical sense. As public sector procurement professionals, we know and hold close the notion of value for money, but we also understand this does not equate to ‘cheapest must win’.

However, I still think the loss of the word ‘economically’ can have a positive impact on the future of public sector procurement. I don’t mean this in the sense that we will suddenly evaluate quality or social value, we do that already. I also don’t mean that we will simply weight quality over price in a tender, because again, we do this already. What I mean is that I believe the loss of this word will empower us as a profession.

This change in acronym, and acknowledgment that procurement needs to be ‘unleashed’, is far greater than it first seems. If our core legislation moves us away from the term ‘economically’, our metrics should surely follow suit? Procurement is often thought of alongside savings, but is measuring the success of a procurement processes best realised in terms of savings achieved? I doubt it.

The success of a procurement considered in terms of appointing the ‘Most Advantageous Tender’ however, permits the inclusion of many different factors within the measurement of success – end user improvements, social value, corporate responsibility…the list goes on.

During our webinars we asked:

Do you think you will do anything differently in your procurement processes following the introduction of MAT?

Out of 97 respondents, only 32 expected that they will do something different in their procurement processes. On reflection, perhaps the question should have been ‘Do you think you will measure your procurement processes differently following the introduction of MAT’ and I would welcome your comments on this point.

Nonetheless, we can infer that procurement professionals are currently divided and perhaps a little apprehensive about the newly proposed legislation.

As the draft bill moves through Parliament, my colleagues and I will be keeping a close eye on developments, and we will continue to provide further discussions on the reform. In the meantime, I hope you will be listening to our upcoming podcasts on this topic.

For those who did not attend the webinars in May, both links can be found below:

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