Now we find the Communities and Local Government Select Committee of the House of Commons have issued a call for submission of evidence on the effectiveness of Local Government Procurement. The areas they hope to explore have a touch of deja vu echoing Byatt and the NPS which were a decade ago, yet I honestly wonder if those involved in the inquiry are aware of those antecedents.
I find it amazing that having dismantled almost the whole local government procurement support structure someone has now decided to find out what's going on. But I suppose if you think of the timescales involved the outputs could be timely for a new government.
If the Committee mean business they need to take a wider perspective, be forensic and ask:
- What were the lessons learnt from the implementation of the NPS?
- What was achieved through the NPS? (The impact assessment should be used as evidence)
- What happened to the library of local government procurement indicators, procurement skills programme, the Passport2Procurement eLearning tool, the sustainable procurement guidance, gateway reviews, Fitness Checks?
- Has local government procurement gone backwards since the implementation of the NPS?
- What was the impact (costs and benefits) of dismantling the procurement support provided by the IDeA, 4Ps and RCEs?
- What was the impact of the Small Business Friendly Concordat?
- Why is it that local government has been able to collaborate on purchasing since 1957 and other parts of the public sector find it so difficult?
- Where is local government now positioned against the milestones of the NPS?
- What were the lessons learnt from high profile failures, for example Wiral and Lancashire major service contracts,
- Why has central government appeared to learn so little from local government procurement?
- What does world best of bred local government procurement look like?