2022: The year that procurement drives significant societal change

Proxima recently sat down with procurement leaders from both the public and private sector, including Simon Tse of the Crown Commercial Service, to discuss the trends to keep an eye on for 2022
Credit: shutterstock/Hugo Felix

Throughout the pandemic, procurement has played a central role in ensuring the public sector has been able to effectively respond to the challenges faced. Looking at the year ahead and beyond, procurement professionals across both the public and private sector are focussing on how they can continue to make a difference.

That’s why we sat down with senior procurement leaders, including Simon Tse of the Crown Commercial Service, to understand how their roles are changing and how they plan to continue driving change in 2022.

People are at the heart of everything

All of the leaders we spoke to highlighted how important people are to delivering change. For many, it’s been a tough 18 months with lockdowns, returns to offices and then back to work from home guidance.

There has been a huge shift in the ways people work – and many of us are still trying to figure out the best ways of hybrid working and getting this balance right will continue in 2022. Simon Tse in particular talks about the need for procurement teams to continue their transition to the working practices, patterns, and workplaces of the future.

Enhancing the strategic importance of procurement

In both the public and private sectors, procurement teams have been thrust onto the frontline of the challenges their businesses are facing. Whether that’s helping a company manage surging costs or ensuring a public sector organisation can continue to provide public services, procurement teams have made a huge difference.

Now as they move into 2022, there is an opportunity to cement that strategic function. In the public sector, one of the key drivers of this will be the National Procurement Policy Statement. This puts public procurement at the centre of the economic recovery, by setting out common benchmarks and standards to enable continuous improvement in public procurement practice.

This will play a key role in ensuring procurement is contributing to the strategic direction of the government’s overall agenda.

Looking at value more holistically

The procurement leaders we spoke to all highlighted that there is now a shift in how value is being defined – with the old prism of cost being the sole measure of success being dropped for a more holistic approach. As Simon Tse highlights in his contribution, this is something where really the public sector leads the way.

Simon conveys that the task is now further embedding social value and sustainability so that we can build back better, fairer, and greener post-COVID-19. This will be done by public sector procurement professionals using their power to instigate positive change through government’s procurement activity.

Looking ahead

As we hopefully transition out of a few difficult years, it was promising to see the shared positive outlook from the procurement leaders we spoke. Many truly believe that there is an opportunity this year for procurement leaders to be key drivers of positive change.

Nowhere is this more exciting than in the public sector, where procurement has an almost unprecedented opportunity to help drive major societal changes – from net zero to more support for SMEs. We’re excited to see what 2022 brings.

The full report 'Views on 2022 — The Vision of Procurement Leaders' is available to download.

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