The problems over the UK central government consulting services framework raise some wider questions about the whole strategy of aggregating spend and centralisation of public sector procurement.
The most important “
The wider question though is whether trying to put in place such huge contracts to satisfy such a wide range of budget holders and
So gathering user requirements becomes a huge task when you are trying to cover all of
We then see issues on the market side. Because this contract becomes so important for suppliers, hundreds or even thousands will attempt to win a place. That brings both a sheer volume problem for the contracting authority, and it also means that any disappointed suppliers will look very hard for technical issues in the procurement that might mean they can legally challenge the decision.
The technicalities of running a fair procurement process, of designing an evaluation methodology that meets the needs of the process and the pure programme management difficulty all make this extremely challenging for this sort of contract.
The final point to make is this. CCS cannot make the argument this is “just” a question of skills. The organisation – and indeed its parent body, Cabinet Office – has invested heavily in the past couple of years in bringing in some really good (and expensive by government norms) people, and in staff assessment centres, training and development.
So if the current bunch of CCS executives can’t successfully manage these mega-procurement exercises, then maybe the whole approach is flawed.