This is a theme we have been picking up repeatedly in the commentary which has emerged since the EU confirmed approval of the proposed procurement reform package, likely to be formally ratified later this year.
Innovation is hailed as one of the other components of MEAT which can and will now lead the way presenting suppliers to the public sector with the genuinely new challenge of submitting their tenders as “smartest” rather than “cheapest”.
So will this lead to a seismic shift from the award of contracts/ frameworks to massive suppliers who can drive lowest cost to unimaginable depths to SMEs providing expensive innovative solutions? Put bluntly, and notwithstanding the UK Government declaration that it will be an enthusiastic early adopter of the reforms, anyone who thinks the answer to that question is “yes” needs a reality check.
Poor procurement practice is far too deeply embedded in the public sector. This is in large part due to equally poor understanding of the legal and commercial framework within which the procurement function operates. Unless the two years or so leading up to implementation in the UK is used wisely and productively we will go on disadvantaging SMEs and buying non-innovative solutions cheaply from the “big boys” for years to come.
Science Business has an interesting take on this: