Daily Archives: March 13, 2024

The Public Sector is Giving Procurement Integrity A Bad Name … Can the Private Sector Fix It?

A recent article over on Global Government Forum on Procurement Integrity: A Big Problem That’s Worse Than Most Organizations Think, pointed out that errors, fraud and abuse in procurement cost governments and organizations millions of dollars every year, and even though recent headlines in the US (TriMark, Booz Allen Hamilton), UK (NHS, Royal Mail), and Canada (ArriveCan) are starting to shine the light on the extent of (public sector) procurement fraud, the problem is still bigger than you think. Much bigger.

Current estimates are that organizations, across the public and private sectors, lose 5% per year due to procurement errors, abuse, and fraud. Given that Global GDP is about 85 Trillion dollars, at 5%, that’s 4 TRILLION dollars estimated to be lost annually to errors, abuse, and fraud. And that’s probably a low-ball estimate due to the fact that we just calculated that Over One TRILLION dollars will be wasted on IT software and services due, primarily, to lack of knowledge and/or outright stupidity (and not malicious intent, but if it’s easy for consultancies and third parties to considerably over bill for legitimate goods and services that you need, imagine how much they are fleecing you for goods and services that you don’t need and may not even receive).

It’s highly likely that the true cost of errors, abuse, and fraud (internal, collusion, and external) is closer to 10% of total GDP, or close to EIGHT TRILLION. That’s at least twice the GDP of every country on the planet except China and the United States. That’s a BIG PROBLEM, which is definitely not being helped by the 100M to Multi Billion Procurement Frauds being reported almost monthly across major western economies — and multi-million dollar fines don’t repair the damage. (They don’t even come close.)

This is damage which Procurement needs to repair — because Procurement is the only department that has any hope of putting proper procedures, processes, and platforms in place to minimize the errors; training the organizational employees on proper procedures and monitoring the implementations to prevent abuse; and putting in place proper detection systems to detect, and prevent, potential fraud and quickly identify and track it when it happens.

Unless all the bucks go through, and stop at, a modern Procurement department run by a CPO who puts in place proper people, processes, and platforms, loss is going to continue to run rampant. Which means that while the public sector is failing us daily, the Private sector has to step up and restore the integrity of Procurement. It can start by utilizing some of the the techniques in the linked article, and continue by continually learning and implementing the best technology and processes it finds to not only uncover significant savings in inflationary times, but return integrity and trust into big business, and give governments who have lost their way a model to follow.

And for more details on Bad Buying to avoid, and how to achieve Procurement with Purpose, the doctor suggests you start by following the great public procurement defender, Peter Smith.