Public Procurement: International Cases and Commentary

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By including specific award criteria in an EMAT design governments can use their procurement to stimulate specific government policies. They state that uncertainty regarding the quality and quality standards can make it difficult to choose a tendering design.


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These hypotheses were tested in a two-step survey conducted in and They found that a high level of uncertainty concerning the cost of different levels of quality makes the use of lowest price for awarding the contract less likely. On the other hand if the quality is non-verifiable and thus highly uncertain public procurement authorities were more likely to use high quality weights. According to Lundberg public organizations that want to use their procurement as a policy tool to reach their policy goals therefore need to gain more insight into how scoring rules can be used to achieve and sustain quality levels and focus more on the economic and commercial aspects of procurement, rather than on the avoidance of legal conflicts.

Do citizens actually want their government to consider the environment in their procurement, favour local suppliers or do they merely want them to be very cost-effective? Keulemans and Van De Walle therefore used Eurobarometer public opinion data from They found that EU citizens actually want public authorities to use award contacts on more than price alone and evaluate multiple aspects any procurement offer in their procurement decisions. Interestingly, although EU citizens do still value cost-effectiveness and domestic favouritism, they are most supportive of the objectives of sustainable procurement.

Although citizens are supportive of the use of public procurement as a policy tool, the number of different policy goals that procurers have to incorporate in their procurement is increasing.

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Public procurement has been consistently used to further public policies in a wide range of fields, such as the national industrial policy, reducing unemployment, improving employment conditions, support for small businesses, local development, employment of disabled workers, and equal pay for men and women McCrudden, making it more and more complex for procurers to meet these often conflicting goals Grandia, Factors such as market realities, uncertainties of outcomes or responsibility for achieving policy outcomes affect the degree in which procurers are able to achieve the policy goals through public procurement, also due to the sometimes limited knowledge and resources of the procurers.

They therefore conclude that it seems to be difficult to incorporate both of these policy goals in public procurement in a strategic way, so that innovation and preparedness would be outcomes of the procurement. However, given the limited financial resources of public organizations, and the fact that they are also responsible for ensuring effective public service, innovation, and civil preparedness, it only makes sense to try to deal with these elements in an integrated manner.

They start from the premise that although public procurement decisions in France are governed by a very strict regulatory framework Public Procurement Contracts Code - PPCC, , they may be influenced by the market structure and the relative position of suppliers in this market, along with the networks to which the firms belong.

They therefore examined whether networks influence contract awarding by analysing award notices published in the French official journals for the year that were awarded to consortia of firms. The French state encourages co-contracting in which businesses form a group and propose a collective offer that is more advantageous than their individual offers. In the award notices Mamavi et al. Based on network theory they hypothesized that the awarding of public contracts is influenced by the strength of the ties in strategic networks and that in an alliance the lead partner moderates tie strength.

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Their findings partially support these findings. For a company, having weak ties in a strategic network, regardless if it is a representative of an alliance or not, increases the awarding of public contracts. Having strong ties in the network, only affects awarding of the contract if they are without control of the alliance. Mamavi et al.


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  7. Many studies into public procurement focus on European or Western countries. We are therefore very pleased to include two articles in the special issue that examine findings and assumptions from Western public procurement studies in a different context. Using public procurement as a policy tool is about using procurement to achieve the most value for money.

    Ibrahim et al. A good legal regime, however, if complied with, can help in promoting accountability and value for money. They did however find that in Ghana, a developing country, there are several challenges such as political pressure, lack of political will, corruption, weak institutions or weak enforcement mechanisms that threaten compliance with the procurement law. Consequently, the policymakers in the developing countries must find ways to enact even more robust policies that allow SMEs to improve their share in public sector markets. Reflection The collection of articles in this special issue contributes to a broader understanding of the role and potential of public procurement in delivering desired policy outcomes in society.

    The role of regulation is further explored in Ibrahim et al, in the context of Ghana. The authors provide evidence that legal and regulatory frameworks do not necessarily guarantee compliance and value-for-money, but, if complied with, could help in promoting accountability and value. Their article shows that despite the policy on using public procurement to achieve goals regarding civil preparedness this does not mean that it is fully implemented. Network relationships are another important issue identified by Mamavi et al.

    A theme running through all the articles in this special issue is that public procurement largely has strategic aspirations, and its potential to deliver on wider societal issues is attractive to policy makers. The question whether public procurement is an effective policy tool therefore remains largely unanswered.

    The special issue highlights the diversity and reach of public procurement, but it has merely examined some of the assumptions that underlie the use of public procurement as a policy tool. We therefore invite other researchers to build on these findings and move forward to a greater understanding of this subject. The current positioning of public procurement in the literature, and by policy makers, tends towards one-dimensional approaches.

    The field therefore still lacks diversity of evidence from across the globe, and of various spend categories. The significant gaps between policy and practice support a need for further research into public procurement — its potential, and its current use. A comprehensive review of the field and international comparative studies into the effectiveness of public procurement as a policy tool are critical gaps in the research landscape and key to understanding the full potential and effectiveness of public procurement as a policy tool.

    Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank editor-in-chief Sandra van Thiel for the opportunity to publish this special issue and Robin Bouwman for his excellent editorial assistance. They would also like to extend their warmest thanks to the external reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments of the submitted papers for this special issue.

    References Brammer, S, and Walker, H. Edler, J. Graells, A. Sanchez-Graells Eds. Grandia, J.

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    Van Thiel Eds. Lember, V. Loader, K. McCrudden, C. Using public procurement to achieve social outcomes. Natural Resources Forum, 28 4 Rolfstam, M. Russell, C, and Meehan, J. Journal of Public Procurement, 14, Selviaridis, K. Telgen, J. Knight, C. Harland, J. These obligations or efficacy of regulatory frameworks are rarely challenged in the literature, yet the performance and impact of procurement activity is an under-researched area, both in terms of immediate value performance, and wider societal impacts. In addition, numerous barriers prevent public organisations from delivering innovation and policy outcomes including lack of market engagement by procurement, poor tendering practice, low procurement competence and lack of risk management Uyarra, Edler, Garcia-Estevez, Georghiou and Yeow, Outcomes that deliver wider public benefit demand assessment beyond financial metrics and require a longer-term measurement of impact.

    These measures might themselves be new and innovative and will involve iterative network relationships between suppliers, service providers, public bodies, and communities. If public procurement lacks these capabilities, then its ability to reach desired outcomes in society is limited. The need to extend the evidence base of diverse public procurement contexts in delivering policy aims forms the basis of this special issue.

    More importantly these six papers all examine different assumptions underlying the use of public procurement as a policy tool. Public procurement can be used to achieve certain policy goals and thus create value for society. Using public procurement as a policy instrument often starts with choosing a tender design that awards a contract based on criteria other than price.

    EMAT is the weighted sum of different aspects of a product or service that provides value to the public procuring authority, such as quality, environmental, safety or social aspects. By including specific award criteria in an EMAT design governments can use their procurement to stimulate specific government policies. They state that uncertainty regarding the quality and quality standards can make it difficult to choose a tendering design.

    These hypotheses were tested in a two-step survey conducted in and They found that a high level of uncertainty concerning the cost of different levels of quality makes the use of lowest price for awarding the contract less likely.

    Public Procurement

    On the other hand if the quality is non-verifiable and thus highly uncertain public procurement authorities were more likely to use high quality weights. According to Lundberg public organizations that want to use their procurement as a policy tool to reach their policy goals therefore need to gain more insight into how scoring rules can be used to achieve and sustain quality levels and focus more on the economic and commercial aspects of procurement, rather than on the avoidance of legal conflicts.

    Do citizens actually want their government to consider the environment in their procurement, favour local suppliers or do they merely want them to be very cost-effective? Keulemans and Van De Walle therefore used Eurobarometer public opinion data from They found that EU citizens actually want public authorities to use award contacts on more than price alone and evaluate multiple aspects any procurement offer in their procurement decisions.

    Interestingly, although EU citizens do still value cost-effectiveness and domestic favouritism, they are most supportive of the objectives of sustainable procurement. Although citizens are supportive of the use of public procurement as a policy tool, the number of different policy goals that procurers have to incorporate in their procurement is increasing. Public procurement has been consistently used to further public policies in a wide range of fields, such as the national industrial policy, reducing unemployment, improving employment conditions, support for small businesses, local development, employment of disabled workers, and equal pay for men and women McCrudden, making it more and more complex for procurers to meet these often conflicting goals Grandia, Factors such as market realities, uncertainties of outcomes or responsibility for achieving policy outcomes affect the degree in which procurers are able to achieve the policy goals through public procurement, also due to the sometimes limited knowledge and resources of the procurers.

    They therefore conclude that it seems to be difficult to incorporate both of these policy goals in public procurement in a strategic way, so that innovation and preparedness would be outcomes of the procurement.

    Public Procurement: International Cases and Commentary - Google книги

    However, given the limited financial resources of public organizations, and the fact that they are also responsible for ensuring effective public service, innovation, and civil preparedness, it only makes sense to try to deal with these elements in an integrated manner. They start from the premise that although public procurement decisions in France are governed by a very strict regulatory framework Public Procurement Contracts Code - PPCC, , they may be influenced by the market structure and the relative position of suppliers in this market, along with the networks to which the firms belong.

    They therefore examined whether networks influence contract awarding by analysing award notices published in the French official journals for the year that were awarded to consortia of firms.

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    The French state encourages co-contracting in which businesses form a group and propose a collective offer that is more advantageous than their individual offers. In the award notices Mamavi et al. Based on network theory they hypothesized that the awarding of public contracts is influenced by the strength of the ties in strategic networks and that in an alliance the lead partner moderates tie strength.

    Their findings partially support these findings. For a company, having weak ties in a strategic network, regardless if it is a representative of an alliance or not, increases the awarding of public contracts. Having strong ties in the network, only affects awarding of the contract if they are without control of the alliance.

    Mamavi et al. Many studies into public procurement focus on European or Western countries. We are therefore very pleased to include two articles in the special issue that examine findings and assumptions from Western public procurement studies in a different context. Using public procurement as a policy tool is about using procurement to achieve the most value for money.

    Ibrahim et al. A good legal regime, however, if complied with, can help in promoting accountability and value for money. They did however find that in Ghana, a developing country, there are several challenges such as political pressure, lack of political will, corruption, weak institutions or weak enforcement mechanisms that threaten compliance with the procurement law. Consequently, the policymakers in the developing countries must find ways to enact even more robust policies that allow SMEs to improve their share in public sector markets. Reflection The collection of articles in this special issue contributes to a broader understanding of the role and potential of public procurement in delivering desired policy outcomes in society.