Loading...

Brexit: A Buyer Perspective

Brexit Buyer Perspective

The possibilities for post-Brexit public sector procurement are endless: for instance, it could reduce the legislative burden on suppliers or allow UK buyers to favour national goods/services.

While there is real potential for positive change, nothing will be known for sure until Brexit negotiations are completed. However, if you are working within the UK marketplace it is natural to want to prepare for the future.

So instead of listening to the naysayers, why not listen to public sector buyers who have sound knowledge of the subject?

Brexit: A Buyer Perspective hears from UK public sector buyers, revealing their forecasts for post-Brexit procurement reform, as well as opinions on how changes could be capitalised upon.

Written in layman’s terms, A Buyer Perspective shows the survey results from a cross-section of UK procurement officials, with detailed analysis of the results.

The report examines public sector buyer opinion across a range of topics including Brexit’s impact on future procurement activities, thresholds and procedures, along with the possibility of favouring bids from UK suppliers.

Free to download as a PDF, Brexit: A Buyer Perspective can be consumed on the go or easily printed.

report download button

Autumn Statement Procurement Top Tips

Autumn Statement

The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent Autumn Statement offered new routes to leveraging business growth. Here, BiP Solutions journalist Julie Shennan gives 5 top tips for procurement actions to optimise your Autumn Statement opportunities.

With £23 billion of additional government spending pledged in Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s recent Autumn Statement via the new National Productivity Investment Fund, fresh pipelines of work have been outlined in areas such as infrastructure, housing, transport, defence, exports, R&D, oil and gas, communications and media.

Whatever your business sector, the Autumn Statement contains information that you can leverage to cut costs and open up new business opportunities. Here are 5 top tips for post-Autumn Statement good procurement practice.

1. Browse Business Breaks

Every year the Chancellor of the Exchequer gives business financial breaks via the likes of Corporation Tax cuts and business rates relief. These breaks often come with caveats that make them applicable to some businesses but not others; however, it is worth checking if your business qualifies so you can adjust your budget.

Also worth noting is that with each business break there usually comes a time frame for its implementation or a time limit on its duration. For example, in his Autumn Statement 2016 Mr Hammond pledged to cut Corporation Tax to 17% by 2020, suggesting that it may drop incrementally over the next few years.

2. Find Funding

Likewise, the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement often announces funding opportunities for UK business growth, to stimulate things like innovation, local economies and overseas trade. This year the Chancellor pledged £400 million through the British Business Bank to invest in innovative small businesses with potential for growth.

Now that these funding opportunities have been announced, businesses that qualify and are interested should waste no time in contacting the British Business Bank to start their application. Fortune favours the brave, and awarding bodies will not knock on doors offering funding.

3. Utilise U-Turns

Just as suppliers should be diligent in checking the recent Autumn Statement for relevant new announcements, they should also check it for any U-turns on business breaks or funding pledged in previous years.

Each year brings new circumstances and challenges that can force policy U-turns, not least when there has been a change of government. Yet one supplier’s curse is often another supplier’s blessing as the scrapping of relief or funding in one area can lead to that assistance being rechanneled into another.

4. Pursue Pipelines

Arguably the most valuable business information in this year’s Autumn Statement is to be found in the new pipelines of work announced by the Chancellor. These pipelines vary from the rather open ‘£800 million to the Scottish Government for infrastructure projects’ to the more specific ‘£7.6 million for urgent and essential repairs to Wentworth Woodhouse heritage house in South Yorkshire’.

Now that the Autumn Statement has been announced, suppliers should research it for pipelines within their sectors and geographical areas of operation, bearing in mind that some sector pipelines – such as those in construction – have a trickle-down effect into others. For instance, a pipeline for building repairs might also bring security services opportunities to guard the building while the repairs are made.

After identifying a potential future pipeline of work, suppliers should then scan the procurement horizon for this work being put out to tender. This can be done by using a contracts finder service, checking national or local authority contract portals, monitoring news stories, or attending council meetings and networking events.

For best practice guidance on finding contracts, read The Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts, Chapter 4.

5. Contact Contractors

Every now and then an Autumn Statement or Budget goes one step further, not only outlining new pipelines of work but also announcing the Tier 1 contractors who will be running them. For instance, in his Autumn Statement 2016 the Chancellor detailed that £850,000 would be awarded to a Royal Society of the Arts project to promote cultural education in schools. Once the Tier 1 contractor’s name is divulged then suppliers should strike up pre-tender conversations, to establish the scope of sub-contracts available.

Best practice guidance on pre-tender networking can be found in The Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts, Chapter 9.

For more information on government opportunities, visit the BiP Solutions Resources page.

LGPE 2016 Review

LGPE

Leading the way in local government procurement, LGPE (Local Government Procurement Expo) returned for a second year at London Olympia on 2 November 2016.

Opening the event, Public Sector Consultant Colin Cram said:

“Local government is going to be at the heart of public service delivery transformation; it is getting more and more devolution from Whitehall, so local government will be responsible for more and more public services.”

Reflecting on this change was Tower Hamlets Council CEO Will Tuckley, whose LGPE keynote explained the importance of devolution in reshaping UK healthcare.

Mr Tuckley said:

“Devolution creates lots of opportunities to use the best expertise we have in local government and the NHS – across the public sector – to get better value.

“In these hardened times we still spend a lot of money ensuring that people have better chances in their lives and one of the ways people have better chances is by being healthier; so it is all of our responsibilities to work together to produce better outcomes. Devolution enables us to do this by taking decisions closer to these communities.”

Also keen to improve local government spend was Malcolm Harbour CBE, who outlined his hopes for the future in the LGPE keynote ‘Innovation in Procurement’.

He stressed:

“Public sector procurement people should be more ambitious, not too prescriptive; they should think about the big problems they want to solve then bring big ideas together to solve them. This is the way that we are going to get better public services that are more efficient at a better cost, doing a better job.”

While Mr Harbour recognised the importance of budget efficiencies, he added that procurement reform required more.

He explained:

“Procurement tends to be seen as a technocratic and bureaucratic exercise, whereas actually it is far more important than that; so procurement leaders need to ensure that they combine innovation in their strategy for the communities that they serve.”

Echoing this sentiment was Eastleigh Borough Council CEO Nick Tustian, who spoke at the LGPE Adding Value Training Zone.

Mr Tustian said:

In recent years I have noticed how you have to go through quite a massive cultural and organisational change to get to be commercially minded in procurement and I don’t think most public sector organisations really appreciate the level of change needed.”

He added: “Events like LGPE are essential to help people share their knowledge; everyone is on the same journey, just at different points along the way. I love coming to these events because I love listening to others; there is a lot of good practice out there.”

Best practice tips were shared in the LGPE keynote as well as in the Adding Value, Professional Procurement Skills, Social Value and Supplier Training Zones. Between training sessions, both buyers and suppliers took to the conference floor to network.

Peter Marshall, Professional Services Director at Commerce Decisions, said:

“I hosted a talk at LGPE about the development of appropriate evaluation criteria and after hosting the talk I got lots of people coming up to my stand, looking to chat about their projects and organisations.”

He continued:

“Partnering at an event like LGPE is a very important part of starting to understand your supply base and partners. If you want to ensure that you are getting the best value for money out of your bidders then you need to engage with them as early as possible.”

Reflecting on the conference, Social Value UK’s Communications and Membership Coordinator Christina Berry-Moorcroft commented in a similar vein:

“We managed to chat to people who are in charge of procurement as well as businesses that are tendering bids.”

Echoing this sentiment was Sims Recycling Solutions Business Development Manager, Guillaume Maricourt.

He said:

“I have most enjoyed networking at LGPE; sometimes we have talked to people in procurement who are not in IT but have helped us get in touch with the IT procurement department for their companies.

“If you want to get involved with procurement in the public sector then LGPE is definitely a good show to be at.”

Register your interest in next year’s event by visiting the LGPE website

 

New Year, New EU Thresholds

Blue European Union Flag with Yellow Stars. Basic Flag Illustration.

On 1 January 2016, revised EU public procurement thresholds come into force in the UK. Public sector procurements with an estimated value in excess of these thresholds are legally required to follow the European procurement process, which was transposed into UK law as the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

This, for instance, means that all contract notices for procurement valued above EU thresholds must be published throughout the EU via the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

The thresholds are set in Euros, and every two years the European Commission publishes the equivalent values in pound sterling, based on the average daily value of the Euro.

Although the value in Euros has increased, the revised UK 2016 thresholds show a decrease, due to the exchange rates. These threshold values will apply from 1 January2016 to 31 December 2017.

The new thresholds will apply to all contracting authorities, as defined by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, including all central government departments, their Executive

Agencies, Non-Departmental Public Bodies, Executive Agencies and the wider public sector. It also contains information relevant to utilities as defined by the Utilities Contracts Regulations.
Thresholds

Enquiries about the new thresholds should be directed to the Crown Commercial Service Helpdesk (0345 410 2222).

For more procurement updates, continue to follow the BiP Solutions blog…