Navca dismisses government procurement pledge

15 May 2012 News

Navca has rejected the Cabinet Office’s new Procurement Pledge, instead opting to support a Local Government Association alternative, and is calling on other not-for-profit organisations to do likewise.

Navca has rejected the Cabinet Office’s new Procurement Pledge, instead opting to support a Local Government Association (LGA) alternative, and is calling on other not-for-profit organisations to do likewise.

The group feels that the pledge published by the government in April, which outlines its commitments to potential public service providers, takes a ‘top down’ approach with too much emphasis placed on wealthy companies, a philosophy that Navca predicts will disadvantage the charitable sector and local businesses.

The umbrella body prefers the LGA’s draft pledge, currently out for consultation, which it says is more focused on users and citizens and prioritises voluntary organisations.

Navca feels that the LGA shares its concerns about the government’s pledge, and that its LGA Procurement Pledge for Local Authorities “focuses on engagement and co-production and contains a greater focus on small and medium enterprises and the voluntary sector”, so is therefore more appropriate for voluntary sector providers who supply services at a local level.

The Cabinet Office lists 18 approved signatories to the Procurement Pledge, including Acevo. All other signatories are big businesses including BT Global Services, National Grid and Network Rail. The entire list, as well as the full outline of the Pledge, can be found on the website here.

Alongside supporting the LGA pledge, Navca has also stated that it believes competitive procurement processes are “unnecessary and do not deliver value for money” for the kinds of community-based services that that small local charities typically deliver.

Good idea executed badly

“The government’s pledge is a good idea that has been executed badly,” said Navca chief executive Joe Irvin in a statement. “The LGA’s pledge is much more voluntary sector-friendly, which is why Navca is happy to support it. In fact, in these days of localism, as the LGA pledge is backed up by local government, it is more relevant to the work of the voluntary sector.

“As well as the pledge, we really welcome the recognition from the LGA that there is currently a risk-averse approach to public sector procurement that requires a change in culture at local government level. We believe that the voluntary sector and the LGA have many shared interests and look forward to others in the voluntary sector getting behind this pledge.”

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