In the UK’s drive for growth, we need to make full use of the lever that public procurement of innovation offers. In the past, the UK has not done that, but the Government is making important reforms to public procurement, which will be supported by an ambitious Learning and Development plan to ensure that public sector organisations have the knowledge, skills and models to grasp the opportunities created by reform. This new report shows that national and regional hubs focused on improving public procurement of innovation have a significant positive impact, delivering more for the public and rewarding innovation by businesses. A dedicated UK Innovation Procurement Hub would help to make sure that the programme for improvement includes building capability to procure innovation better.
The Innovation Procurement Hubs explored by this research are predominantly public sector-led. They offer information and advisory services and provide networking, all of which deliver value to procurement bodies and suppliers. There are differences between approaches, and quantitative assessment is ongoing, but the hubs deliver significant added value and there is strong support for their continuation.
The UK can learn from these examples, and select what approaches best fit our needs. A Hub would develop and share information and advice on innovation procurement. It would model and replicate successful approaches. It would accumulate learning and expertise over time, continually improving the efficiency of the delivery of the services. By acting primarily in a coordinating capacity, rather than seeking to direct centrally, it would minimise unnecessary duplication.