Good Practice
Ideas in European Public Procurement Wanted

One of the reasons we started this site was to help promote better public procurement practice and performance around Europe. We won’t be the only people doing that, but if we can help a little that would be positive.

And one way that will happen is if we can share examples of good practice from different countries. We have found that there is reasonably good (but not great) sharing of ideas within some countries, but much less that cuts across national boundaries. So we want to try and encourage that communication and discussion of techniques, approaches and ideas that have worked somewhere but might have wider interest.

To achieve this, we depend on you, the readers and contributors to Public Spend Matters Europe. We will actively look for these examples, but if we want to feature them regularly, we will need your help. We are thinking of anything from a major initiative, perhaps a national-level initiative under the new Innovation Partnership heading, to a small but clever idea – perhaps something aimed at getting more small companies involved in local procurements.

As an example, one initiative that would seem to have wider application is the UK’s Mystery Shopper Service. Suppliers who have an issue with a public procurement process can contact the service, which is a small team in the UK’s Cabinet Office (a central government department), who will then investigate the issue and advise the contracting authority if they feel something is not correct. (See here for more detail).

We don’t know how many other countries have something similar, but it seems like a good idea that any country could implement. Or the good idea might be a much more technical procurement related innovation – perhaps even an interesting contractual clause that is proving useful, or a set of KPIs (key performance indicators) that is helping to manage major suppliers better.

So please contribute your ideas. Send a short email to me at psmith (at)spendmatters.com or nclinton (at)spendmatters.com, and assuming we agree that it is interesting, we can follow up with a call to find out more.

One other thought – perhaps we should also have a “bad ideas” feature as well? That might be even more useful. I heard at the Lisbon conference in June about how public contracts in Flanders still have a formal and public “tender opening ceremony”. No offence to our Flemish friends, but perhaps that could be the first example!