Magazine article Public Finance

Poor Public Procurement 'Threatens Reforms'

Magazine article Public Finance

Poor Public Procurement 'Threatens Reforms'

Article excerpt

The CBI has hit out at government mismanagement of public procurement which it warns is threatening ministers' ambitious plans for reforming frontline services.

A study by the business group, published on December 13, has found that three-quarters of its members believe public sector procurement systems require 'fundamental change' to improve them.

More worryingly, just 9% think commissioners of public services, who spend more than £100bn of public money annually, have good procurement skills.

Other shortcomings highlighted include inadequate specifications for projects, failures to address policy issues at the outset, and a lack of negotiating skills. These have resulted in delays and projects going over budget, respondents say.

Neil Bentley, the CBI's director of public services, said that the government must fix these problems: 'Public procurement processes are too often characterised by unnecessary delays, high costs and changed specifications. …

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