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Public Sector Procurement - the Challenges Facing a Small Country

Anthony Barrett
Assistant Auditor General, Wales Audit Office

David Rees
Governance Manager, Wales Audit Office

Published in: Public Finance Quarterly 2016/2 (p. 170-177.)

SUMMARY: Public sector organisations within small countries have some significant advantages. They are small enough to have a good understanding of local needs and often have in-depth knowledge of the experience and skills available in local labour markets. However, these advantages can be off-set and even outweighed by the challenges of dealing with lack of economy of scale, scarcity of specialist procurement expertise and a greater risk of supplier collusion. This article focuses on public procurement in Wales and examines how the Welsh Government has been seeking to confront the challenges facing public procurement in a small country through the development and improvement of public procurement practice and capacity. The article concludes by looking at how the Auditor General for Wales is contributing to addressing the challenges facing public procurement in Wales through the exercise of his audit powers.

KEYWORDS: procurement, public services, consultants, procurement expertise, audit, value for money

 G38, H57, M42

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