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Public Finance featured a recent blog, written by Researcher William Mosseri-Marlio and originally published on The Reformer, on public procurement and how moving procurement online could save billions of pounds annually. This comes after the publication of Reform‘s report on the subject, Cloud 9: the future of public procurement.
As he puts it, digital purchasing “presents an exciting opportunity”, if the UK follows other international examples. Estonia, a country bound by EU regulations, has reduced administration costs by 30%; online markets account for 64% of South Korean government’s purchasing. The UK has announced the creation of a Crown Marketplace which could bring further positive changes to the UK procurement system. Reform‘s report recommends moving products which are easily commoditised, and even some bespoke items, onto it. A payment function could be added, creating a single portal for digital purchasing.
However, the Government will also need to tackle other issues. This includes the long-standing problem of improving civil service commercial skills.
“If history is anything to go by, transforming procurement will not be easy – administrations since the late 1990s have tried to improve value for money in public sector purchasing. Digital channels, however, can provide the catalyst for a new wave of reform. The prize is not just big savings for the taxpayer, but improved public services and outcomes for citizens.”
Read the full article here.