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A few weeks ago, we told you here about our kick-off meeting for the UK Public Spend Forum Best Practices Exchange. A group of 15 or so senior public procurement leaders got together to talk about the idea of a cross-sectoral group that could drive better practice, understanding and exchange of knowledge across the whole UK public sector.

As part of that, we want to carry out research projects that will be useful in terms of identifying good practice and suggesting improvement actions for public bodies. Our first project, agreed at the meeting, is to look at procurement collaboration. That is, collaboration between multiple buying organisations rather than collaboration with suppliers (which is another interesting and huge topic in its own right of course).

Such collaboration might be via a collaborative procurement organisation (CPO); it is clear that using contracts or frameworks let by a CPO is the most common form of collaboration. Then we have shared services operations, whether handling purchase to pay activities or sourcing; and various models where a number of organisations share some activities within the overall procurement space.

That research will have several strands, one of which is a survey which we hope we can get 100+ public sector organisations to complete. It is designed for all public or indeed quasi-public bodies, including CPOs themselves. It asks questions about what collaboration is going on at the moment, what works well and what doesn’t, and where public sector procurement collaboration might go in the future.

According to the rather wonderful “surveygizmo” app we have used (and it is highly recommended, a very powerful, easy to use and free tool), our survey should only take 8 minutes to complete, although if you want to give us your views on where collaboration should go, there are a couple of optional “essay” questions and we’d be delighted to hear more detailed ideas from you.

If you complete the survey (and include your email) we will give you an exclusive preview of the results and invite you to some sort of event (currently undetermined) to celebrate publication. Not promising champagne at the Ritz but it will be fun and involve free drink … Or you can be anonymous if you prefer.

In our experience, everyone has a view about procurement collaboration. So, here’s your chance to have that view heard and contribute to what we hope will be interesting and important findings that might help steer future public procurement strategy. You can access the survey here, and we will be eternally in your debt if you would take a few minutes to complete it.

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