I am doing a session at a procurement seminar for branches in Ayrshire this afternoon. The financial situation means that a number of public service organisations are looking to make savings through their procurement strategy. Some are being misled by management consultants that there are savings to be made from outsourcing.
Regrettably PSO’s do not always do procurement well. A recent example was Edinburgh City Council who made a complete mess of a social care procurement, to the extent that they revisited the evaluation when it didn’t produce the lowest price. That council’s report into Alternative Business Models was full of unproven assertions on both price and quality. There are similar stories across Scotland, particularly involving the voluntary sector, where there appears to be a race to the bottom in terms of quality.
Even the Scottish Government officials are struggling to produce coherent guidance. A recent consultation on social care procurement is almost silent on staffing issues and even omitted the Government’s own statutory guidance! Our submission to that consultation covers this and much more.
For this reason we have produced a range of materials for staff and branches to assist them in managing the procurement process more effectively. This has been followed this up with a comprehensive training programme. Poor procurement practice not only results in poor value for the taxpayer, but can have a devastating impact on services.