Good Public Procurement Recommendations from the McClelland Report, Part I

It may have been written five years ago, but the recommendations from the McClelland Report, which inspired Scotland Public Procurement to new levels of efficiency and performance, are as poignant today as they were then. These recommendations include:

  • The optimum reporting line for the Head of Procurement is directly to the Chief Executive but at a minimum he or she should report to an Officer or Executive who reports to the Chief Executive. The Procurement Function should not have a less senior reporting line than this minimum.
    Procurement must have visibility at the highest level.
  • Contractual commitments on behalf of all organizations should be executed by a “Procurement Officer”. The Procurement Officer should have the sole authority to make these legal commitments on behalf of the organization.
    Large procurements must go through the Procurement function.
  • Procurement activities and transactions should be conducted by the appropriate staffed and skilled procurement function and its procurement officers. It should not be undertaken by non-procurement staff located either in central structures or employed in other (e.g. operational) sub-sections of the organization.
    Procurement must be done by procurement personnel with the skills.
  • In some cases internal business practices inadvertently facilitate the ease of unofficial buying. All organizations should review controls and practices with this in mind.
    Processes must be reviewed to insure that they do not facilitate maverick buying.
  • Where the procurement of low-value goods or services creates anomalies in administration cost versus value procured, then alternative methods such as payment on receipt should be developed and introduced within the principles of full procurement and financial controls.
    A buy that costs money is not a good buy. A buy should reduce costs.
  • A business conduct guideline document should be developed and issued for all of the Public Sector.
    Standard procurement processes should be developed, clearly documented, and distributed.