Procurement, procurement, procurement
It’s time to rethink procurement and we are in the middle of doing exactly that on behalf of CE Wales members and the wider industry. Here’s an update from Vince Hanly
Rethinking procurement? Yes it’s all change for construction procurement as Welsh Government and the UK Government issue papers, reports, recommendations and consultation papers. Reform is firmly on the agenda and CE Wales is at the centre of the work being done.
The CEWales Procurement Steering Group has been considering a wave of new policy best practice and intended legislation over the last few months.
Back before Christmas we produced the Transform Procurement Paper December 2020. It intends to change current procurement legislation to simplify and remove unnecessary processes to make it easier for SME’s to win work. Consultation has ended and the government is currently considering the feedback.
The Construction Playbook excited the industry and gained a lot of headlines. It captures commercial best practices and specific sector reforms outlining the government’s expectations of how contracting authorities and suppliers, including the supply chain, should engage with each other. It echoes almost all of the core values of Rethinking Construction.
Social Partnerships and Public Procurement Bill (Wales). This is an Act of Senedd Cymru to make provision about public bodies consulting with trade unions when taking certain action related to the carrying out of sustainable development; the Welsh Ministers taking action in pursuit of a fair work goal when carrying out sustainable development; contracting authorities contributing to sustainable development and the fair work goal when carrying out public procurement; establishing a Social Partnership Council for Wales to provide information and advice to the Welsh Ministers on certain matters; and for connected purposes.
The Wales Procurement Policy Statement (WPPS) sets the strategic vision for public sector procurement in Wales. It will help to define progress against the well-being goals we are pursuing for future generations putting the Well-being and Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 at the heart of all procurement decisions supporting us to achieve the ‘Wales we want’.
Well Being of Future Generations Commissioners Reports Spotlight on Procurement and more recently ‘Procuring Well Being’. The second report contains findings and recommendations specifically for the nine public bodies who were subject to the Section 20 Review.
It includes those which are relevant to public bodies and those which are primarily directed at the Welsh Government in its leadership capacity. This document is also relevant to all public bodies in Wales who should measure their progress based on the reports findings.
And you may be aware that there are many debates discussions and workstreams which include procurement as subject matter including those discussed by The Procurement Steering Group but also the Wales Construction Forum and its special interest groups.
There are very loud and varied views on what procurement should and shouldn’t be and a recent consideration has been trying to determine what good procurement is?
Welsh Government now see procurement as a means to drive social change and social equality and place a duty on public bodies for social partnership and promote fair work goals. It aims to set up a Social Partnership Council and for each public body to publish a procurement strategy in line with statutory guidance
But all these changes mean that the same people currently delivery procurement services in Wales will be required to act as a catalyst for change within their organisations.
The number of procurement staff in Wales is small and has shrunk from where it was pre 2008 and unless resources in the form of additional staff, training, best practice, collaboration, and support. Though those resources need to be invested at the point of procurement. There are discussions about the possible setting up of Centre(s)of Excellence, but these need to be considered carefully and some of the disadvantages which were experienced through the National Procurement Service not repeated.
But what does it mean for the construction industry?
CEWales is ideally placed to support the construction industry through these change processes with clients, contractors specialist and sub-contractors professional services working collaboratively identifying and celebrating best practice in action.