Public procurement strategy for accelerating the economic recovery

  • Murray J
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Abstract

This paper aims to consider the problem of public procurement's contribution in moving from the current global economic downturn and accelerating the economic recovery. Design/methodology/approach - A literature review is used to establish perceived local government procurement best practice. Secondary research is then drawn upon to establish local government procurement's response to the current economic recession. The paper is set within the context of English local government. The paper's contribution is in highlighting that perceived best public procurement practice may well, in the short-term, be inappropriate and perhaps delay economic recovery. Suggestions for more radical short-term procurement strategic interventions are set out and justified as accelerating the economic recovery. The suggestions are considered appropriate, not only for the current crisis, but also for future economic downturns or indeed any country facing such a situation. Findings - The analysis suggests that English local government procurement strategy generally remains unaltered from that adopted prior to the economic recession. It is then argued that current best practice may well hinder an economic recovery and a short-term shift in procurement strategy is required. Research limitations/implications - The economic recession is a current phenomenon and the secondary research could well suffer from self-selection bias, nevertheless the review of current policy documents suggests that a short-term shift in procurement strategy is justified. Practical implications - The paper identifies the weaknesses in current procurement strategy prior to setting out a short-term alternative procurement strategy that could help public procurement managers accelerate a viable economic recovery. Originality/value - The current global economic downturn represents a major challenge to public sector organisations, yet there remains an assumption that English local government procurement strategy developed during a period of economic boom, is appropriate during the recession. This paper challenges that assumption and sets out a procurement strategy that could accelerate economic recovery. The strategy advocated can be tested and the lessons learnt utilised in other countries or during future periods of economic downturn.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Corporate strategy
  • Economic conditions
  • Public procurement
  • Recession

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Authors

  • J. Gordon Murray

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