Public Procurement

This procurement is the process by which individual private-sector companies acquire goods, services, and works from public service institutions. It is a significant function that ensures the economy and transparency in the public’s resources. Proper procurement practices will ensure value for money, open and fair competition, and economic development, all promoted by adherence to existing policies and regulations. Given its importance, the concepts and principles of procurement must be understood by public officials and private-sector suppliers alike.

What is Public Procurement?

What is Public Procurement

Public or Government procurement is the process by which the government and its state companies acquire goods, services, and related works. This includes a scope of work that should start from the time a contract is finalized up to the management and, finally, payment.

Given that this type of procurement accounts for taxpayers’ money—an estimated average of 12% of GDP and 29% of government expenditure across OECD member countries—it is essential that effective execution and high standards of ethics be maintained at all times. This ensures quality service delivery and upholds public interest.

However, this procurement process is bothered by a high transaction volume and is most susceptible to wastage, fraud, and corruption.

Benefits of Public Procurement

It ideally sources contracts on the basis of ethics for the sake of the public. It ensures procurement at the federal and local levels by ensuring that the public good is realized through procurement. This benefits everyone in a number of ways.

Environmental Benefits

Public procurement involves sustainability and sustainable problem-solving methods, which are some of the most critical aspects of this process—using materials and suppliers that are sustainable and environmentally friendly in road and infrastructure construction benefits both the current environment and the future.

Benefits of Public Procurement

Through sustainable initiatives, this type of procurement has the opportunity to become a tool that contributes to solving present global environmental challenges, including:

  • Reducing water usage
  • Increasing energy efficiency
  • Promoting sustainable agriculture
  • Lowering greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reducing air, water, and soil pollution
  • Minimizing waste and enhancing recycling efforts

Social Benefits

Through careful and strategic sourcing, these procurement professionals and agencies can significantly enhance social sustainability both locally and nationally. Here are some ways procurement can make a meaningful social impact:

  • Increasing transparency and accountability for public officials
  • Bridging inequality gaps by sourcing through ethical, non-discriminatory practices
  • Improving the labor market by setting standards for suppliers’ working conditions
  • Focusing on sustainable procurement to enhance the overall quality of life for the public

Economic Benefits

Public or Government procurement strategically allocates funds to deliver services and infrastructure that benefit the public. Here are some ways that this type of procurement supports the local and national economy:

  • Increased competition can lead to lower market prices
  • Encourages the development of sustainable business models through a circular economy
  • Procuring energy-efficient goods can save money over time and simplify end-of-life recycling

Why public procurement is important

Why public procurement is important

More than 250,000 public entities across the EU’s 27 Member States expend over 14% of member countries’ Gross Domestic Product or about 2 Trillion Euros each year through government procurement for services, works, and supplies. Most countries have public authorities as the predominant purchasers of a wide range of goods and services, which include energy, transport, waste management, social protection, and the provision of health and education services.

This forms the basis for the public sector to use procurement as a tool to foster employment, growth, and investment in an innovative, resource and energy-efficient, and socially inclusive economy.

Quality public services depend on modern, well-managed, and efficient procurement.

Better efficiency in government procurement can result in enormous savings; a 1% improvement would save about €20 billion every year. Government procurement becomes the lifeblood of both government and the economy, as these are the processes involved in the acquisition of goods, services, and works by public entities, with impacts running basically through all sectors. The details of these sectors are:

Economic Value

Public procurement is a significant vehicle for economic growth. It brings about market activity and provides business opportunities for an extensive range of suppliers. This is a positive thrust towards economic development. It will create employment opportunities, increased investments, and a more dynamic economy.

Promotion of Fair Competition

Public procurement provides, therefore, a contestable environment where business competition for contracts is open to all eligible businesses. Such an atmosphere encourages innovations and efficiencies and even prevents monopolies, all while having a wide range of suppliers apply to enter the market.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

Efficient procurement processes are vital in getting the best value from public money. In this regard, public purchasing—through the efficiency of resource utilization—can avail quality goods and services at the best possible price, therefore improving effectiveness in public service delivery.

Transparency and Anti-Corruption

This transparent procurement is essential to reduce the risk of corruption and establish public trust in the conduct of the state in this procurement. Open and transparent government procurement ensures fairness and integrity, hence building confidence among the citizens and suppliers.

Sustainability at its best and social-added value

Procurement policies may play a crucial role in observing sustainability and social value. Public procurement focusing on eco-products and services or products and services contributing significantly toward social value will be helpful in indirectly facilitating the same. This will support policy objectives around significant issues, such as carbon reduction and social inclusion.

Innovation

Public procurement can be a vital instrument for driving innovation. Indeed, when a government encourages innovativeness in the development and adoption of solutions, it leads to technological and process advancements that are related to better efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of public services.

Regulatory Compliance

Compliance with procurement regulations ensures not only the meeting of legal requirements but also the minimization of risks for procurement disputes and sanctions. The observance of some established rules and guidelines is what protects the public entity from specific legal issues and secures the integrity of the procurement process.

Public Procurement VS. Private Procurement

Public and private procurement operate under very different circumstances, even though both processes are referred to as procurement:

Public Procurement VS. Private Procurement

Public Procurement

Procurement in the public sector occurs not for the profit of an organization but for not-for-profit entities, typically government-related at the central, state, or local level. This process is driven by government entities and is heavily regulated and restricted in terms of spending and financing options. According to Sharland, it is characterized by excellent transparency due to the legislation and rules that force the representatives of the public to present their expenditures to the government and society, hence assuring accountability and transparency concerning the use of public funds.

Private Procurement

Private procurement is work involving for-profit organizations or the private sector, which is work within privately owned companies. Much more flexibility and agility in budgeting, however, are enjoyed by the one that focuses on the aspect of generating revenues, which is the private sector. Hence, it is faster with decision-making and shifts. However, often, this results in procurement practices that are low in sustainability and social responsibility, as the prime motive would remain to benefit profitability instead of sticking hard to regulatory requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of government procurement that would be typical for this practice?

Government procurement stands for the acquisition of goods, works (like construction), or services by public bodies from private firms. It borders on buying a set of computers for a police station, the supply of water, gas, and electricity to communities, the building of hospitals, and the construction of roads.

What are the primary responsibilities of public procurement?

Procurement is done on behalf of the Commission. The procurement function works for the public management unit, which acts within the provision of the law of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005, and the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations Act, 2006.

What is government procurement?

Government procurement law guides the regulation of the manner in which public sector bodies and certain utility sector entities conduct procurement activity with a view to concluding contracts for works, goods, and services.

What does public procurement base itself on?

This procurement system must be firmly anchored on these principles guiding the use of public funds: accountability, transparency, value for money, lawfulness, fairness, and integrity. 

What makes public and private procurement different?

The considerable difference in this is the level of finance available between the two kinds of procurements. While a private organization would have more vigilance and focus on the movement of investments or money from one department to the other with respect to changes in the nature of business conditions, governmental budgets do not provide such luxuries.

Public procurement is different from private procurement in what way?

The difference in funding between public and private procurement is that of public and private. The private company holds one of the most ample discretionary powers of transfer of funds within departments at critical times—discretion that the government will never allow in its budget.

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