It’s been quite a year for procurement.
The rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak has left many SMEs feeling uncertain about their future, but what we can be sure of is the power of public sector procurement.
Procurement now, more than ever, is a crucial factor in bringing communities together and helping people lead better lives through innovative public spending. Here, Supply2Gov takes a closer look at the themes to look out for in 2021 and the years to come.
Social value takes centre stage
Social value isn’t a new development by any means. Public sector organisations are continually looking for new ways to make procurement more ethical. Procurement is moving away from being simply a single transaction between a buyer and a supplier. Instead, new initiatives are being introduced which help support the wider community procurement projects are located in, so that both the area and the people living and working within it continue to benefit long after the project has finished. Examples of social value initiatives that suppliers can contribute to are:
- Offering guaranteed working hours
- Paying the living wage
- Providing enhanced training opportunities
- Boosting qualifications
- Using locally sourced materials
Contracting authorities can help grow social value by awarding contracts to suppliers who demonstrate fair practices, like the above. When procurement is promoting great social value, it can increase youth employment and help young people gain qualifications for the future. In 2021 and the years to follow, social value will continue to play a massive part in how procurement evolves for the better, and for the benefit of everyone.
Cyber security continues to change the modern world
We are all aware that the world is becoming more and more digital, and mass digitalisation has meant that everything is moving at lightning fast speed – businesses, entertainment, new trends and new products. Through the invention of the internet and smartphones, we now have access to millions of data at our fingertips, all the time. This level of accessibility means that it is relatively easy for cyber attackers to break into private networks and access confidential data, including credit card information, medical records and other personal information.
In recent years, businesses have begun implementing cyber security measures to protect themselves and their data, and recent GDPR legislation in Europe has also meant that businesses have been forced to rethink how they use and store their data. However, cyber security is now about much more than viruses and malware, as cyber crime continues to present in different forms across different devices. The artificial intelligence that is developed to detect security breaches by scanning millions of data files and checking for anomalies will soon be able to leak cyber security breaches of its own. This is a prediction that is reflected in the opinions of cyber security leaders around the world.
In response to this, we predict organisations of all sizes across all sectors will invest in training their staff on how to better spot cyber attacks and consequently deal with them. If you haven’t done so already, make sure your business is protected from over 80% of basic cyber attacks with quick and simple Cyber Essentials certification.
More businesses move to eProcurement
For a large number of organisations in the UK, procurement today is a far cry from the paper-based processes and manual searches of the early 2000s. eProcurement is becoming increasingly popular among buyers and suppliers alike – offering a web-based solution where organisations can manage their tenders, bids and documentation without wasting paper and time. However, a recent report by Ivalua has revealed that two-thirds of UK businesses are still reliant on manual and paper-based procurement processes. This is estimated to cost UK businesses on average around £1.94 million a year.
In 2021, we predict more organisations will adopt eProcurement solutions, for more effective and efficient procurement. Receiving Supply2Gov tender alerts sent direct to your inbox is just one example of fantastic eProcurement in action.
Increased public spending
The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered his Spending Review to the House of Commons on 25 November 2020.
The Chancellor’s Executive Summary outlined the state of the UK economy and gave the latest forecasts for the UK’s public finances. The summary states that the:
“Spending Review 2020 (SR20) prioritises funding to support the government’s response to Covid-19, invest in the UK’s recovery and deliver on promises to the British people. It sets departmental budgets for 2021-22 and devolved administrations’ block grants for the same period, confirming that core day-to-day spending – that is, before taking into account Covid-19 spending – will grow at an average of 3.8 per cent a year in real terms from 2019-20 to 2021-22. This is the fastest rate in 15 years.”
The speech made clear that the public sector is very much open for business. Further investment in public services will boost tender opportunities throughout the UK, providing openings for innovative new suppliers across a range of sectors.
Find more tender opportunities in the UK
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