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Review of Public Procurement in Scotland - Report and Recommendations

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19 Implementation Plan Proposal

Background

This is not the first review of procurement in the UK but the detailed and extensive nature of the consultation and the specificity of recommendations offer additional dimensions and opportunities for Scotland. This should facilitate acceptance and increase the prospects for implementation.

Findings

The organisation structure within the public sector is both complex and highly granular. Also, the fiscal relationship between the Scottish Executive and the organisations funded varies significantly across the units within the sector. In some cases it is completely direct, in others arm's length and/or autonomous.

As evidenced by this report, there is not a good track record in implementation, even for initiatives that are generally agreed to have merit. Therefore, a special focus is required to address the question of implementation. The benefits seem obvious and attainable and are capable of capture if a structured approach to implementation is followed.

19.1 Recommendation

A Public Procurement Reform Board should be formed. Its immediate prime responsibility is to oversee the successful implementation of the actions essential to address the basic issues in Public Sector procurement and to drive pursuit of the additional work and changes required to achieve improved performance.

19.2 Recommendation

Its membership should consist of executives from across the sector who understand the issues and priority required, and who can influence their own and other organisations in their drive to address basic weaknesses, and go on to capture the opportunities that lie beyond.

19.3 Recommendation

The Board's remit should include the ongoing monitoring of results compared to savings targets already planned. It should also work within the public sector to develop and formalise the level of additional longer-term savings not currently planned.

19.4 Recommendation

The Public Procurement Reform Board should develop, as a first step, its detailed action plan. The undernoted list of high level actions and suggested milestone dates should provide a foundation to prepare that detailed plan.

19.5 Recommendation

The Public Procurement Reform Board should interact with, and be advised by, a Public Procurement Advisory Group made up of business organisations within Scotland. This group should provide an ongoing framework for dialogue about, and influence upon, public procurement practices as they affect suppliers.

19.6 Recommendation

Strong Ministerial support to this initiative is recommended. Their influence and authority is vital in overcoming any inertia or potential lack of commitment within the sector for the pursuit of implementation. For some issues Ministerial directives should be considered.

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
PROPOSED KEY DATES

Topic

Action

Recommended Latest Completion Date

Supplier Approach

Review Plan

30 April 2006

Reform Board Plan

Present to Minister

31 May 2006

Authority to Purchase

Organisations' review completed

30 June 2006

Governance Principles

Bodies to certify conformance

30 June 2006

EU Workshops

Commence programme

31 July 2006

New Centres of Expertise

Initiate concept

31 August 2006

Business Conduct Document

Reform Board to approve

31 August 2006

Procurement Policy

Distribute Handbook

30 September 2006

Advanced Procurement

Organisation plans to Board

30 September 2006

Approach to Suppliers (Charter)

Final implementation

31 October 2006

Benchmarking

Implement programme

31 December 2006

New Centres of Expertise

Commence initial operations

31 December 2006

Advanced Procurement

All organisations at Improved Level 2

30 June 2007

Advanced Procurement

All organisations at Superior Level 3

31 March 2008

New Centres of Expertise

Fully operational and delivering savings

31 March 2008

The Reform Board should build on the above and present a more detailed plan to the Minister.