EAP has submitted its response to the UK’s Green Paper on Transforming Public Procurement which sets out plans to speed up and simplify our procurement processes, provide value for money and opportunities for small businesses, charities and social enterprises.
As outlined within our submission we broadly welcome the aspiration and approach of many of the proposed changes to the UK public procurement regulatory environment. As a small charity, we have often found it difficult to bid for public contracts and may potentially benefit from a more flexible regime. However, it is important that there are safeguards in place to manage the risks that this can create.
In line with this our response welcomes the Government’s efforts to improve every stage of the infrastructure project cycle but outlines that transparency needs to be central to these efforts, particularly as evidence from CoST – the Infrastructure Transparency Initiative indicates that less than 40% of the Open Contracting for Infrastructure Data Standard (OC4IDS) is commonly disclosed to the public.
The OC4IDS provides a comprehensive approach to data publication, combining contract and project level data. It is applied to e-platforms, encouraging vital data centralisation and accessibility in ‘real time’. Adopting the OC4IDS alongside the Open Contracting Data Standard would help the Government to meet its aspirations to generate data that can be used and shared as well as improving transparency across the project cycle in a sector key to stimulating economic recovery.
We also strongly urge the Government to reconsider the definitions of its procurement principles especially transparency and value for money to ensure that the taxpayer is uttermost in the minds of decision-makers and that social value is fully considered by officials preparing a procurement and companies, social enterprises and charities who then respond in their proposal.
Read more in our submission, including our expert response to several key consultation questions.