UK government lawyers have created a shorter, more user-friendly public sector contract to encourage smaller businesses (SMEs) to bid for £12m worth more easily. Is this really a disruption or just faster horses? 

As reported in the supply management news 2 days ago the Government Legal Department (GLD) said Chris Stanley, a lawyer from its commercial law group, spent the past year reducing around 50,000 words of the existing Crown Commercial Service (CCS) contract terms to produce the new slimline public sector contract (20 pages long). Furthermore they

  • made the contracts readable, even if you’re no lawyer could understand it
  • like to become a benchmark for good business ethics by integrating some new corporate social responsibility obligations. 

A lot of companies stopped bidding in public sector

Motivation of this was to encourage encourage smaller businesses (SMEs) to bid again for £12m worth more easily. From my own experience (compare with the blog post the facts about RfP) I can say, that a lot of companies stopped bidding in public sector as of too much effort/costs through a too complex bid process and contracting.

Is this a useful evolution or don't we need a revolution?

However, looking at this changes by the UK government with an outside perspective it’s looks to me like Henry Ford used to say. 

If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
— Henry Ford

Don’t get me wrong. They had definitely the right intention and got a really good achievement from a legal point of view. However, I believe if we ask just the lawyers to simplify "there“ part we won’t get the full potential and just get faster horses instead of e.g. a „self-driving car".

The right people have to answer the right questions

For a real disruption we’ve to bring together all stakeholders of the whole value chain (customers, government, procurement, sales, lawyer, etc). Together we have to answer the „real“ questions, such as:

  • why do we need a contract at all?
  • how could we increase trust even before we’ve started cooperation?
  • what can we do to increase time-to-market and so deliver business value to our customers earlier?

While development of lean-agile procurement we’ve asked this questions e.g. "what if we have to decide in one day?“ and together we've found applicable answers.

Learn more under Approach, we’re keen on your feedback.