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As we enter the end of the year, we’ve been reflecting on the subjects that have filled our pages. We hope you’ll agree that there’s been some pretty good content, from regular short, sharp, current news stories, to articles and perspectives. We’ve covered topical and current affairs issues like public procurement in disaster situations, modern slavery, a whole series on commercial and contract management and the more practice-oriented issues such as SRM in government, outsourcing, bid assessment, and use of public money – and much more.

Yet, of the hundreds of topics we’ve written about, the perpetually widest-read remains that of the fundamental ‘public sector versus private sector’ procurement question.

So here are some key issues that have attracted the most interest, with links so you can read in full.

Firstly, in ‘What are the differences between public and private sector procurement?’ Peter Smith shares, from his 30 years’ experience as a procurement manager and CPO in both sectors, his thoughts on the fundamental differences between the two. He believes there a four basic differences from which flow the practical and operational differences that we observe between the two sectors, these are:

The public sector is constrained by regulations

The public sector has more complex motivations and objectives

The public-sector stakeholder base is wider and includes those outside the buying organisation

The public sector faces more transparency

Read his full observations here.

Then, once we have a better idea of the differences, he wonders what might attract people to roles within the public sector. So, in 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Role in the Public Sector, he ponders why, for example, a consultant, a manager or anyone really in the private sector, would decide to join a public sector procurement team. He believes there are plenty of good reasons, some of the biggest are:

  • New work challenges
  • Work that feels meaningful or rewarding
  • Improved work/life balance
  • Giving the resume a little boost
  • Stability and job growth

Read more about those reasons in full here.

And finally, once we’ve mused over what makes the public so different from the private sector, he offers some tips on how to navigate the world of public procurement, especially with a public sector job interview in mind – whether leaving the private sector or moving within the public sector.

In ‘Got a public sector or public procurement job interview?’ he shares his personal experiences of carrying out public procurement interviews as a CPO. His advice pivots on these essential points:

  • The importance of researching your prospective employers
  • Telling the right story about your experience
  • The essentials of public procurement
  • Coming across as the kind of person your interviewer wants on their team

Explore these four solid tips here.

As we enter a new year, a time when many people start to think about resolutions, or changes and improvements to their lives and roles, we hope these tips and observations will be of help when framing your next move, whether career, role or even sector!

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