Wednesday, 11 May 2011

If PQQs were the answer, what was the question?

Recently, I was invited to a meeting at the Treasury as a follow up to the earlier larger meeting hosted by the PM and Francis Maude (see my report of this meeting below at this link). This was a small meeting designed to assist the team who are tackling the whole issue of how to go about making Government procurement more SME friendly (as I describe it). Despite the people present being from quite a wide range of industries, I was struck by the similarity of our experiences of procurement.

In a nutshell, it would appear, that more and more SME people (me included) are simply giving up the will to live (almost!) when confronted by the increasingly convoluted Pre Qualification Questionnaire processes that are being used to sift, select and short list suppliers for the next phase of procurement processes. 

It is not my job to record the outputs and proceedings of the meeting - but I did want to share the questions that I took along with me to the meeting to record some of my thinking on this subject: 
  • What evidence is there that PQQs really work? 
  • What do PQQs set out to achieve - and what do they actually achieve? 
  • How do PQQs skew the market place - and do they skew in the direction of better value for the taxpayer or not? 
  • Who are the best a) Government and b) Private sector procurers? 
  • What can we learn from these organisations (assuming we know how to identify 'best')? 
  • What does good procurement look like? (I had my stab at this before - see here
  • As a method of managing the scale of the task (of identifying the few key suppliers who can do an effective and economic job) - what options apart from PQQs are available? 
  • If PQQs and Framework contracts are going out of fashion - what are the best tools to replace them with? 
  • Do PQQs result in the best suppliers being selected to do a job, or do PQQs tend to select those who are just very good at... writing PQQs? 
And finally if PQQs were the answer - what was the question?

I would be genuinely interested in what other suppliers think but especially what do clients and procurers think about my questions? Do you have any answers? 

Please post below. Thanks

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