I was delighted to be present at the launch last week of the Innovation Procurement Empowerment Centre's excellent report entitled 'The Art of the Possible in Public Procurement', published today:
Public spending holds untapped potential to unleash innovation - Connected Places Catapult
The report focuses on the need for buyers to utilise the power of procurement to drive policy outcomes, in particular around procuring innovation.
The new Procurement Act (and in many cases also the 'old' PCR) gives buyers the tools they need to encourage innovation from suppliers. The issue is why so few buyers choose to utilise those freedoms. The public procurement regime is all too often seen as a strait jacket and not as an enabler.
We are working with a number of clients to translate the wave of enthusiasm around the new Act and this paper - which very much chimes with the Government's objectives around the new Act - into practical toolkits which can be put into use by procurement teams on the ground.
We would welcome a discussion with any authorities who are finding it challenging to deliver innovation through procurement, and those who have been successful, as we want to continue to be part of spreading best practice in this area.
Public procurement has suffered for years as a result of the prevalence of myths (e.g. around the permitted scope of pre-market engagement) and a reluctance to take the perceived risks of stepping outside well established processes.
Let's rise to the challenge of making the Procurement Act 2023 a driver of new thinking on procurement procedures and improved procurement outcomes.