Procurement In Government: Not An Easy Job


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Procurement: Meeting The Challenges Within Government

From outside of government, it seems like when government purchases services and physical products for use by the government, there's incredible waste. Probably all citizens have heard of the toilet seats costing hundreds of dollars each, or purchases at 10-50x what one would think the products cost for non-government buyers.

Government Purchasing NOT An Easy Task

Contrary to popular belief, government procurement staff don't go out to spend the most money possible. Most are indeed mindful of their responsibility to taxpayers but they also have to deal with:

  • Purchasing systems that are inherently inefficient because government has a responsibility to impose various check and balances on purchases that do not exist in the private sector.
  • The reality of political agendas regarding purchases, often coming from politicians, who, with good or bad intentions, are trying to either do the best for their OWN constituents, or, for selfish reasons, want to curry favor with the voters.
  • The public nature and scrutiny for government acquisitions, which all in all is probably good in a democracy, but instills a cautiousness to make the best buys.
  • A dizzying array of standards for purchases that are far more stringent in government than in private sector or for citizens. It may be strange to see government purchasing items that look the same as the ones citizens buy (toilet seats, nuts and bolts, etc), but the purchases are often for items that must conform to very high standards.

In this section, we'll cover the waterfront on government procurement, both to help those in those positions, and perhaps to inform the public of the many challenges.

Available Help About: Procurement In Government

Sustainable Government Procurement: Policies, Practices, and Opportunities For Improvement - by Leigh Martin
8 page pdf report on sustainable government procurement that links to various policies and improvements in the U.K. and Australia. (Views So Far 205 )

How To Fix Procurement 3: Ask for the Right Stuff - GovLoop - Knowledge Network for Government - by Clay Johnson
Suggestions from Clay Johnson, the co-founder and CEO of the Department of Better Technology, about how procurement in government can be improved (Views So Far 174 )

Performance Metrics - Are they the missing link in government procurement? - GovLoop - Knowledge Network for Government - by Emily Jarvis
What metrics define a successful procurement? Is it the time it takes to go from an RFP to a new contract? Is it the number of disputes on a particular contract? The metrics around procurement are murky at best. But the National Association of State Chief Information Officers is trying to clear up some of the confusion. They have just released a new report that looks at the biggest procurement risks for states. (Views So Far 208 )

Delivering Procurement Savings for the Public Sector - by David Shields
PDF doc out of the U.K on how to improve procurement processes to save taxpayer money. (Views So Far 195 )

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