Ask pioneering place leaders why they are not harnessing the creativity and innovation opportunities of the market to solve their pressing service and policy challenges and you will often get the response: “Procurement policy doesn’t allow it”.
In early 2019 we launched the Challenging Procurement initiative to understand and dismantle barriers to the effective use of procurement as a lever for innovation in the public sector. Over a period of 24 months we convened diverse stakeholders through roundtables and webinars, generated case studies and published reports on innovation-friendly procurement practice.
During this time, we published articles from Solace – the Society for Local Authority Chief Executives – and the CBI, a report and webinar on the role of procurement in responding to Covid, and a report for FCO Brazil on global best practise in public procurement, which we subsequently updated for a UK audience.
In parallel to this work building the case for change, Connected Places colleagues were also working with large public buyers like Network Rail and National Highways to support them in running challenge-based Design Contests, introducing innovation to their supply chains.
In May 2021 we launched the Consortia for Research in Innovative and Strategic Public Procurement (CRISPP), a co-funded academic collaboration between Connected Places Catapult, the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research and WM-REDI at the University of Birmingham. Through CRISPP we sought to quantify the impact of different approaches to procurement by analysing open and commercially licenced procurement data sets, and by convening an expert advisory group.