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MPs condemn ‘procurement paralysis’ within government

CivilSociety - The government has failed to do enough to improve the access of social enterprises and small businesses to public contracts, according to a new report from the Public Administration Select Committee.

The report is highly critical of both the Cabinet Office (pictured) and the civil service and says it is “intolerable” that public procurement here still takes 50 per cent longer than it does in France or Germany.  “The Cabinet Office does not seem to know why this is the case,” the Committee said.

The PASC acknowledges that the government has initiated steps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its procurement processes, by improving its data, aggregating demand across government departments, and renegotiating relationships with major suppliers.

However, it adds that the “stream of procurement and contract management failures continues unabated”, citing the G4S and Serco contracts with the Ministry of Justice, where payments were made regardless of the service delivered, as recent examples.

“The civil service shows a consistent lack of understanding about how to gather requirements, evaluate supplier capabilities, evaluate relationships or specify outcomes.”