Governments spend a lot.
How we spend this money is important for a whole slew of reasons.
We often overlook how well procurement functions on a day to day basis. In most countries, our streets are lit, our roads are repaired, our hospitals have drugs and public websites are accessible for all to use. This may feel like a low bar, but it is easy to take the work of buyers for granted.
That’s just the reason why we need good data: when buyers do good work, we need to say as much. When products get built, when services get used, we need the data to demonstrate how procurement succeeded. Not just to pat ourselves on the back, but also to give others the ability to extend and improve on this success.
When we think that work by contractors could be improved, we need the data on their performance to measure how different initiatives can impact the outcomes from a contract.
When we want to make strategic choices about how we procure, for instance, setting out how a contract will reduce carbon, we need the data on how the new contract has performed.
Bad procurement can also be a proxy for administrative efficiency, we need the data to show how mistakes are being made and how to arrest them.
It is hard for Governments to be transparent, especially during this crisis, when everyone is an expert and when the best buying looks haphazard, but this is when the data really matters. Good data will show us the route out of this crisis, let’s make sure we keep it for the future.
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