2020 Procurement Year in Review
We've taken a look back over 2020 and picked some stand-out moments. Here's some key things that have happened this year, and what to expect in 2021.
Adapting to a difficult 2020
With a predicted spend of £18.4bn in total across the 2020/2021 financial year (Global Data, April 2020), estimates showed an expected rise year on year on technology spending. With some time still left to go for the financial year, 3 months to be precise, are we going to hit those predictions?
2020 has been a difficult year, that much we know. The UK Government in 2020 put in a manner of different processes to help make sure that suppliers were supported and that buyers were still enabled to purchase the services and goods they need.
Procurement processes have had to change in 2020, not massively, but in a way that continued the facilitation of purchasing. One of the ways they’ve done this is via the release of a few new PPNs (Procurement Policy Notice) this year.
The first of these PPNs, 01/20 and entitled Response to Covid-19, outlines how buyers can emergency buy services and goods. Buyers essentially were able to cut down their procurement times substantially.
The second of these, PPN 02/20 entitled Supplier Relief due to Covid-19, sets out to ensure that public bodies are supported in paying suppliers. In effect, making sure that services carry on as usual and that all providers of goods or services to the public sector are supported financially. This was again reinforced by PPN 04/20 which was called Recovery and Transition from COVID-19, which focused on building on the processes outlined in 02/20.
As well as the challenges that the pandemic threw at 2020. Procurement also had to adjust to the impending separation from the EU. This put some uncertainty into the public sector market, with buyers and suppliers being cautious.
Has it all been a bad year and one to forget for the world of procurement though? Yes and no. Whilst we’re still seeing the business take place, there have been a lot of delays that we’ll see the effect of into 2021. Let’s start with the Digital Marketplace…
The Digital Marketplace
The big talking points for the Digital Marketplace in 2020 has to be the delay to get them out! With G-Cloud usually going Live in July, applications were extended and the 12th iteration of the framework went up for use in September.
This also meant that the Digital Outcomes and Specialists 5 framework was delayed, opening up for applications in September – and is due to go Live in January 2021. A bit later than its usual Autumn launch!
Despite these delays, spending through these channels wasn’t affected too much. With the delays, saw the continuation of quick and easy routes to procurement for buyers and suppliers – coupled with the new PPNS – which was a preferred way for doing business during the pandemic.
Quarter 1 of 20/21 saw a rise of 19% on the same quarter for the 19/20 financial year on G-Cloud. And a similar 18% rise in quarter 2. Despite the barriers in place, the G-Cloud framework has continued to grow and grow. Positive signs moving forward.
G-Cloud Spend – 2020/2021 Financial Year to Date (April 2020 – December 2020)
|Not for Profit||£16.26m|
|Other Public Sector||£641,990|
A similar outlook can be seen with Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) too. Whilst there was a dip in business in quarter 1 of 20/21, when restrictions and changes came into play, there was a 6% rise in spend going through DOS in quarter 2.
The 4.5% of money going through DOS in quarter 1 could be attributed to it being the first few months of national lockdown in the UK. Procurement process were given more flexibility to be quicker, with the introduction of emergency buying rules (as confirmed in the published PPNs earlier in the year). DOS can be a bit more of a lengthy process, so in the midst of quicker procurement taking place – DOS might not have been one to go for right away.
Digital Outcomes and Specialists Spend – 2020/2021 financial Year to Date (April 2020 – December 2020)
|Not for Profit||£2.8m|
|Other Public Sector||£330k|
The rise of the Dynamic Purchasing System
This year we’ve seen a lot of Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) pop up. If you’re not sure what these are, check out this useful blog.
In 2019 we saw some great innovative DPSs arrive on the scene, such as Gigabit Capable Connectivity or the Spark marketplace. This trend did not stop in 2020. In fact, we’ve seen a lot more this year.
The reason for this is largely due to flexibility. DPSs provide a route to market that can accommodate new suppliers at any point during its lifecycle, are compliant and quick, and very easily adaptable. This is why you’ll see them pop up for more innovative technologies and solutions – it offers more solutions too as they aren’t capped.
Here are some we’ve seen this year:
In a year where procurement has had to be quicker, whilst maintaining compliancy when there’s increased scrutiny on the awarding of contracts, the DPS has been a big help.
Social Value in Procurement
Something we’re big fans of this year is the rise of Social Value in procurement. We wrote about it in 2019 and what it all means, but this year we’re seeing it come to the forefront. Crown Commercial Service in particular are making it a focus of all of their routes to market to make sure suppliers can commit to social value policies.
Basically, what this means is that from 2020, suppliers are judged on their social impact – as well as their competence and pricing. Factors suppliers are scored on are; how they support COVID recovery plans, tackling economic inequality, fighting climate change and driving equal opportunity.
This is a welcome change to public sector buying and we’re excited to see it continue!
What to expect from 2021
There are some big changes in the new year, that’s for sure. We’re expecting spending on the Digital Marketplace to keep on rising. Global Data predicts a year-on-year rise when it comes to ICT spending by the public sector – with that £18.4bn to be spent by the end of the financial year in March.
The biggest change for buyers and suppliers alike is the introduction of the new Find a Tender process. As the UK leaves the EU on 1st Jan, the current OJEU process will be replaced. Most of how it works is exactly the same (including pricing limits), except new tenders and contract notices will posted to the UK government’s own new Find a Tender Service (FTS, for short) from 1st January.
Another thing we’re expecting to see more of is social value. As we said before, it’s becoming a big talking point throughout 2020 and we’re not expecting that to change. Suppliers who don’t get their services and technology up to code with this will most likely get left behind.
And lastly, we’re expecting the public sector to continue to spend. Despite the hardships that 2020 have thrown at everyone, the UK government has continued to buy goods and services. There is a growing scrutiny on how the public sector buys its solutions, so compliant routes to market such as frameworks and DPSs are hopefully going to become more widely used – and a more even playing field for SMEs too. The government recently announced these changes to public sector procurement.