Procurement collaboration promotes public service

The power of procurement collaboration in public service
How public-private collaboration is transforming procurement's role in providing effective and efficient public services

When most people think, ‘procurement’, they do not immediately think in terms of public service.

This is probably the last thing to be conceived.

But since procurement is, in the first and last order, about people, this needs to change - and the greatest procurement (and supply chain) successes - stem from this realisation, and this vision.

One more time: Procurement is about people. 

The April edition of procurement magazine looked at how public-private collaboration benefits the economy.

This feature looked at how public procurement plays an important role in the economy by providing opportunities for businesses of all sizes to compete for government contracts.

It also helps to ensure that public funds are used efficiently and effectively, while promoting transparency and accountability in the use of public resources.

The article states: “The processes and skills involved in public sector procurement are the same as those in commercial settings, with one crucial difference: the function is subject to specific legal and regulatory frameworks, which vary by country and jurisdiction.

“In general, these frameworks set out rules and procedures for how public sector organisations can buy goods and services, including requirements for tendering, bidding and contract award.”

The belief that public procurement operates separately from the private sector has persisted for some time, but such recent developments in bidding systems and collaboration have highlighted the merging of the two domains.

It is becoming increasingly clear that public procurement is not as isolated from private enterprise as previously assumed.

Market forces such as supply and demand, as well as healthy competition, play a crucial role in the public procurement process and can facilitate the delivery of effective public services, including wider social issues. 

The phenomenon, of course, is a global one, and potentially applies to every government around the world.

For example, in the US, the Partnership for Public Service has urged enhancements to government procurement.

Polly Hall, a member of the Partnership's Federal Innovation Council and senior advisor to the chief of procurement at the Department of Homeland Security, highlighted the critical role played by the federal acquisition community in advancing important government priorities, such as modernising infrastructure, addressing climate change and even promoting racial equity.

Hall emphasised the need for federal leaders and agencies to develop innovative procurement strategies to achieve these goals.

To support transformation efforts, the Partnership, in collaboration with Maximus Federal, conducted interviews with federal innovators to identify modernisation efforts in digital procurement across different agencies.

The resulting report states: “Our procurement leaders recommended collaboration as foundational for digital transformation in their field,” across different contexts: Internally; across government; with the public; and with industry, further highlighting the interdependence of the public and private sectors. 

It says: “To tackle complex societal challenges and better serve the public, government agencies must collaborate internally, across agencies, with the public and with industry to take advantage of diverse expertise as well as the lived experience of the people they serve.

“We steadfastly believe a commitment to collaboration is foundational for significant and sustainable change. The agencies we profile here are proving that collaboration can transform procurement, and procurement innovation can lead to more equitable, effective digital government service delivery.”

Private and public sector collaboration is essential in achieving the goals of the government and serving the public effectively.

Collaboration can bring together diverse expertise and lived experiences, enabling government agencies to develop innovative solutions to complex challenges.

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