Tag Archives: government

Lean Procurement – an early bird analysis

 In this guest blog, John Pendlebury-Green and John Jones from strategic sales architects Landseer Partners discuss the Government’s plans to introduce lean procurements, an approach which should shorten procurement times, reduce bidders’ costs and encourage greater SME participation

Lean procurement is being piloted by the Government with six pilots underway across various departments. We at Landseer Partners have been extensively involved with one of these pilots. Also, we have discussed the emerging characteristics with service providers participating in other lean procurements.

Although it is early days, there are some emerging trends that the Government and bidders would do well to take on board for lean procurements to become successful and ubiquitous across government.

So, what are these emerging trends? Our “early bird” experience of being on a lean procurement pilot suggests that:

·         Lean procurements, by their very nature in attempting to reduce the overall procurement timeline significantly, have the potential benefit of reducing bidders’ costs. They also have the potential to reduce the opportunity to discuss in sufficient detail important commercials such as contract schedules and contractual terms and conditions.

·         Both the client and potential suppliers need to plan and resource better a lean, competitive dialogue. That means supplier submissions need to be submitted much sooner than in previous procurements. It also means that client bid reviews and quality assurance need to be undertaken much quicker and more efficiently.

·         There is an even greater need for strong leadership and decision-making on both the client and supplier side i.e. the need for empowered individuals is greater in lean procurements than in a traditional competitive dialogue. Decisions need to be taken swiftly in order to maintain pace in the procurement.

·         Stress levels for all parties can be high. All parties will be “doing more” in “less time” – so outcomes need to be kept in perspective with a view to the quality of deliverables/schedules not being compromised and

·         Bid teams need to be better resourced at the outset, especially in terms of having the right subject matter experts being available at the appropriate time. This seems to be especially so in the case of lean dialogue.

Finally, our experience, short though it is, suggests that incumbent suppliers, by virtue of their incumbent status, have a slight advantage over other short-listed competitors. They have greater knowledge of the existing services supplied. They need less time in the “data room” and are often able to provide a greater level of detail in their dialogue responses, simply by virtue of knowing the service in greater detail.

In summary, it is still very early days in the lean procurement world.  The obvious benefits of shorter procurement times (and hence reduced costs on all sides) though welcome, might actually mask additional costs that could subsequently emerge.  

Landseer Partners     http://www.landseerpartners.com/

Aftermath of the riots: the clean-up continues for SMEs

Yesterday the Campaign4Change suggested that some SMEs might need help in getting access to IT facilities in the short term to help them get on their feet. One organisation, Enterprise on Demand, has contacted us to offer community support for SMEs affected who may need some IT help.  It can also be contacted by email: cs@enterpriseondemand.co.uk

Another useful point of contact is the Federation of Small Businesses which has advice on insurance and civil contingencies on its website: http://www.fsb.org.uk

There is also a riot clean up website www.riotcleanup.co.uk and a similar Twitter feed    http://twitter.com/#!/riotcleanup

Aftermath of the riots: lending SMEs a helping hand

With the pictures of the aftermath of  last night’s riots still embedded in the memory and  with dozens of SMEs literally picking up their pieces of their businesses, perhaps it is time for the large to offer help to the small.

Larger business have IT facilities and premises that could be utilised in the short term to help SMEs get on their feet in the affected cities  and London boroughs.

IT suppliers could do their bit in tiding over SMEs who need IT facilities, perhaps provided by Cloud-hosted systems. Now is the opportunity for the Cloud to deliver a solution which is up and running and available quickly.

In addition, the government could be putting some of its array of IT  to good use, giving London-based business a leg up. Insurance will help, and the Federation of Small Businesses has already been pointing out the urgency today.   But SMEs need more. And they need it now.

If you can help, we suggest you contact the Federation of Small Businesses on 01253 336000    http://www.fsb.org.uk/

Mutuals: Government must deliver on radical public services agenda, says Institute for Government

By David Bicknell

Responding to the Government’s Open Public Services White Paper launched by David Cameron this week, the Institute for Government says the agenda is a radical one, but failure to deliver will come at a cost.

Commenting on the launch, the Institute’s Programme Director, Tom Gash said:

“There’s not much that is new in this white paper but it is still a radical agenda for change. Other governments have tried and failed to remodel public services. The difference this time is that the stakes are higher. With massive cuts to public spending, if these measures don’t work, the state will not be in a position to shore up services.

“A white paper by itself doesn’t change anything. To make this vision a reality, a lot of work lies ahead. Failure to take these next steps in any of the policy areas covered by the paper will lead to the risk of future u-turns, uncertainty and failure”.

The Institute argues that several key issues need to be addressed going forward. These include:

  • Mechanisms for accountability in service delivery must be thought through. Voting in a local election is very different from choosing your GP but in future there are likely to be different combinations of accountability mechanisms for different services.
  • Whilst removing top-down targets  and giving greater autonomy to frontline professionals, government must still be clear on the lowest level of service permissible before this autonomy is withdrawn or restricted.
  • Transparency – data will need to be accurate, timely and accessible if people are going to be able to use it to exercise their choices.
  • Ministers will have to be willing to relinquish power. They’ll still be held responsible for local decisions even though they no longer have control over them.
  • As public services are opened up to new providers, ministers must be absolutely clear about who is responsible for what.
  • Mutuals will need to have the scope to blend state and private investment and not be soley dependent on a single source of funding.
  • Commissioning for outcomes must focus on those outcomes that are measurable. But measuring outcomes is often harder than measuring outputs. For example, it is easy to measure whether a hip operation took place. It is less easy to measure whether or not the operation has improved the patient’s quality of life.

The Institute argues that policies in the white paper are at different stages of their development.  Ministers, central and local government and practitioners will all have work to do if they are to ensure that they are implemented in a way that genuinely improves public services and the lives of citizens. Drawing on its publication Making Policy Better, the Institute recommends that departments will need to:

  • Carry out a “reality check” on policies, involving implementers and/or users of services in testing or piloting them.
  • Consult those affected by changes and address the issues that arise as a result of these consultations.
  • Ensure that policies have been properly costed and that they are resilient to external risks.
  • Make sure the role of central government is properly thought through and that it is clear who is accountable for delivering particular services and the criteria on which they will be judged to have succeeded or failed.
  • Have plans in place for collecting feedback on how policies are being delivered in practice and the mechanisms are in place to act on this feedback.
  • Make sure that policies are implemented in a way that allows government to assess whether they have worked or not and how they can be adapted and strengthened.

 Gash added:

“In order to avoid repeating the experience of the beleaguered NHS reforms, the coalition will need to invest a good deal of time and resources in delivering its radical programme for reforming public services. To publish a white paper and then walk away will not be enough but today’s announcement, with its emphasis on consultation and analysis seems to show that government has learnt from its mistakes and is ready to take the time to deliver something which could change forever the way citizens choose and receive their services”.

Some useful insight into ongoing G-Cloud development

By David Bicknell

I came across this blog by Alan Mather on e-govenment, commenting on some of the recent rumour and speculation around the future of G-Cloud, especially in light of some recent comments attributed to Nick Wilson at HP.

Mather’s insight on G-Cloud makes for interesting reading:

“Everything I hear today is that G-Cloud is alive and well. It is, though, a programme, not a thing. There isn’t going to be a big cloud (in the sky) owned by government into which each and every bit of IT will be shovelled, dribbled or piled.

“People inside government continue to work on G-Cloud and, whilst it’s not without [some pretty significant] challenges, it’s making progress. Ten years ago when I was at the centre of government, I would have done such a project with some pretty substantial seed funding from HM Treasury and I would have made a strong case for some kind of mandation – I’d have wanted government to get behind whatever the offer was and direct people to use it. That didn’t happen then – cf gateway, DotP etc – and it isn’t going to happen now. The difference now is that departments phone up the G-Cloud team every day looking for opportunities to join up – to save money, reduce risk, speed delivery and get something done. The pressure is on and departments are looking for ways to reduce that pressure.”

Mather says his understanding is that G-Cloud is, amongst other things “aimed at stimulating the widest possible market by lowering the barriers to entry for provision of services (decluttering the commercials as well as taking services as they are rather than with overwhelming government customisation) and so helping smaller businesses gain entry to the government market.

- Architecture neutral. What’s wanted is bare tin at IaaS, a range of suppliers putting capability on top of bare tin at PaaS and true services that are platform agnostic at SaaS. Government is buying services. They want those to be assured services – secure, reliable and performing to service levels…  and so on.”

Can’t really fault Mather’s thinking here – I look forward to what he has to say in the future.

Making Green Work – dare you commit corporate heresy?

I’m reposting this from my Computer Weekly Greentech blog because I think the ideas are equally applicable to the Campaign4Change.

Last week I took part in on a webinar ‘Making Green Work’, run by the Harvard Business Review and supported by Hitachi, which featured noted Green Business consultant Andrew Winston and which discussed the concept of sustainability within organisations.

Winston suggested that within firms, employees should be prepared to be heretics, thinking the unthinkable. For example, in the US, UPS has decided that because of the idling involved in deliveries, its routes schedule no left turns – we’d call it taking ‘no right turns’ here. That’s going to save UPS an estimated 28.5 million miles from its delivery routes, saving 3 million gallons of fuel, and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by around 69 million pounds. But how do you create the organisational culture that allows ‘green heresy’ to flourish? Is this down to the CEO to drive the culture that allows this to happen? What role should other corporate officers play in this?

Equally, it’s clear that if such green heresy is to take place within organisations, senior corporate officers need to be incentivised to both think and do sustainability to such an extent that their remuneration depends on it. How far has this gone within the C-Suite? How many Chief Information Officers, for example, are truly thinking how technology can drive green innovation within the organisation, not just in terms of products, but processes, services and new business models? How many CIOs are actually incentivised in this way? And what do these models for remuneration look like? What do they mean for the CFO or even HR?

Winston recently discussed in the Harvard Business Review blogs how organisations like Xerox are working with customers to help them use less of their traditional product or service. It is sustainability that is driving the transformation of Xerox to a services-led business.

As Winston explains, “Xerox advises companies on how to save money on document handling, and holds a sizeable 48 per cent market share in the $7.78 billion “managed print services” (MPS) industry (according to research firm IDC). Part of this new strategy is an outsourcing play -they’ll take over all your print needs for you – to grab share. This is clearly not a niche business-this is a firm that existed on selling devices, paper, and machine servicing, so the more it’s used the better. But at the core, what Xerox is offering is less total printing. That’s a big shift in business as usual.”

You can read the piece here.

Although the original webinar discussed companies in the private sector, I’m sure the same ideas can apply within the public sector, especially in relation to IT projects, Cloud policy and the application of true sustainability. In other words, not corporate heresy, but government heresy. Think the unthinkable – and then do the un-doable.