Sector News
This Week’s Talk from the Public Procurement Taverna

Happy Friday! — and we’ve been down the (imaginary) procurement cafe/bar/cave/biergarten (according to your location) to pick up our recent stories, snippets and information. Well over a trillion Euros of money from taxpayers and citizens is being spent by governments and public sector bodies, you would think it ought to be done well.

Do click through and read the full articles that interest you – some of them we will come back to in greater detail in due course.

Majority of government spending with SMEs is through larger contractors

A UK National Audit Office (NAO) report has found that the majority of government spending with SMEs is via a larger contractor in the supply chain. The government set a target in 2010 for 25 per cent of procurement spending to reach SMEs by 2015. This target was met in 2013-14 and surpassed by two per cent in 2014-15, according to an estimate by the Cabinet Office. However, the NAO said that it could not be certain that the amount the government spends with SMEs has increased over the last Parliament because the data it has used is not directly comparable year on year as a result of numerous changes in the way SME spending is calculated. Alarmingly, the 27 per cent figure for 2014-15 is made up of direct spending with SMEs (£4.9bn, or 10.9 per cent, of overall spending) in addition to indirect spending in which SMEs are appointed as subcontractors in the supply chain in a public sector contract with a larger provider.This is an extract from which has a very good report and you can read the rest on its website here.

OECD calls on countries to borrow and increase public capital spending

The Irish Examiner reports – Last month, the Bank of Japan moved rates into negative territory, while central banks in countries such as Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden have had negative rates for quite some time. It is hard to believe that seven years after the end of the Great Recession of 2008-09, there is no end in sight to the policy of zero or negative interest rates, with both markets and central banks still focused on the downside risks to growth and inflation. Even in economies such as the US and UK, which have seen reasonable recoveries and are approaching full employment, interest rates are expected to remain pitched at near zero … In its latest Economic Update, the OECD says there is a need to strengthen demand in economies but monetary policy cannot work alone … The OECD is calling on countries to increase public capital spending in particular. Investment spending has a high-multiplier effect which means it has positive spillover effects on the rest of the economy. This report can be read in full here.

Hamburg bans coffee pods and disposable packaging

The Independent reported: Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, has banned coffee pods and other disposable products from its council buildings as part of a drive to reduce environmental waste. Announced as part of a 150-page “Guide to Green Procurement”, the city introduced a ban on buying “certain polluting products or product components” with council money. The ban therefore includes bottled water and beer, chlorine-based cleaning products, air freshener, plastic plates and cutlery. Jan Dube, spokesman for the Hamburg Department of the Environment and Energy, told the BBC: “The capsules can’t be recycled easily because they are often made of a mixture of plastic and aluminium.” “It’s 6g of coffee in 3g of packaging. We in Hamburg thought that these shouldn’t be bought with taxpayers’ money.” The full article can be read on its website.