5 July 2018

Update

Partnering for prosperity

New CBI report calls for business and government to work together to improve public contracting in the aftermath of Carillion.

Partnering for prosperity

Last week, the CBI launched the findings of its recent public procurement survey in a new report Partnering for Prosperity at a CBI event attended by John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service.

Read the new report, Partnering for prosperity

The report, echoing a number of themes underpinning a speech made by Cabinet Secretary, David Lidington, underlines the critical role that business plays in supporting the delivery of public services and infrastructure. It also identifies opportunities to harness the power of government spending to drive innovation and economic prosperity across the UK’s regions and nations.

Read Cabinet Secretary, David Lidington’s speech

What it also highlights, however, is that maximising the contribution of business relies on improving procurement processes to enable business and government to work in partnership. While government has shown welcome intent to improve the way it works with its suppliers, Partnering for Prosperity suggests that there are clear opportunities to make public contracts deliver better outcomes for taxpayers.

In particular, the CBI’s findings suggest that too often suppliers are viewed as a vehicle for cost-reduction, rather than a partner that can bring much needed investment and innovation to the delivery of public services and infrastructure. Of the businesses surveyed, 60% believed that initial-bid cost remained the key driver of contract awards. 

With suppliers facing intensifying scrutiny, it is more important than it ever has been for business and government to work together to deliver long-term value rather than just savings in the short-term.

As the report argues, unlocking this contribution in turn requires reductions in the complexity and inconsistency of procurement, to ensure that businesses of all sizes can make their full contribution to improving the outcomes that matter to citizens.

To build on this work, the CBI will be hosting a series of member roundtables. If these might be of interest, please contact Elizabeth.crowhurst@cbi.org.uk.