Public sector procurement is something few people have never heard of. Even the majority of staff that work in the public sector do not really know what it is. This is because most are not involved in purchasing the items that they use on a day-to-day basis. In most cases, this is down to a small team of people.
This team of people are responsible for making sure that the public organisation has everything they need to run the service they provide easily to hand. For example, that a hospital has all the equipment, stationery, clothing and food necessary to allow it to function. In many cases they have a huge list of products that have to be sourced. In the case of a hospital, the list runs into the tens of thousands of items.
How Public Sector Procurement Differs From Normal Procurement
The process of sourcing this long list of products is, for the most part similar to that used by businesses for the items they need on a day-to-day basis. However, public sector procurement does differ in some ways.
Because it is public money that is being spent, there are a few more checks and balances in place than you would find in a private business. They are there to try to prevent the public's money being wasted. Securing a good price is very important because it affects us all. Money that is wasted on buying items such as stationery at high prices is money that is not available for providing services. The service the public receives is adversely affected when money is squandered because of lax procurement. However, shopping around for the best price for everything from pencils to surgical equipment is very time consuming. As a result, the government have simplified the process.
How Public Sector Procurement Has Been Simplified
It is now possible for public sector procurement teams to use something called a GPC (Government Procurement Card) to purchase goods. This card is similar to a credit card. Certain procurement firms accept the card and give additional discounts. This makes it possible for any public sector department to buy goods and get an extra discount without the need to go through any additional tendering process.
Argos For Business provides a full public sector procurement
service. They accept GPC cards for all 20,000 products stocked in their stores.
Article By: Adam Nicolson