Optimising Outcomes from Procurement and Partnering for Covid-19 and Beyond: Lessons from the Crisis

Project status Active

Procurement accounts for £100bn (47%) of local authority (LA) spending (IoG,2018). Leveraging these resources to the greatest social and economic effect is now crucial in promoting an agile crisis response, maintaining community resilience and helping local businesses stay afloat.

Emergent literatures indicate that innovation to leverage procurement for additional positive-sum value is both necessary and possible (NAO,2016; Amey,2019; PWC,2019; NCVO,2020; LGA,2017; WCPP,2019). This connects on the ground with a new urgency and impetus for change. As LAs pivot and flex in response to Covid-19, and the need to leverage resources accelerates, this research asks how can LAs maximise the impact of, and leverage additional value from procurement?

An expert academic team, with extensive stakeholder engagement and support from important project partners, will deploy a robust and agile suite of methods (longitudinal surveys, interviews, workshop/webinars, mini-investigations, e-Delphi study) to provide detailed cross-functional, inter-sectoral, and multi-level analyses of procurement practice and performance. This will mark out critical-success-factors and points-of-failure across the whole system, crucially considering how things vary in different LAs with different characteristics. Its focus and reach makes this a first-of-its-kind study, at the time it is most needed.

A strong communications plan will enable rapid harnessing of ideas, data and legal advice to practical, positive-sum procurement solutions, and incentivise patterns of stakeholder relations that combine complementary capabilities in response to current challenges. The parallel development of a ‘procurement impact tool’ will facilitate new data-analytic capabilities, further accelerating innovation and improvements in practice, performance and strategic decision-making.