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The Oxford Procurement of Government Outcomes Club (Oxford POGO Club) is a knowledge sharing initiative that is open to anyone interested in capacity building in public procurement and in collaboration to improve social outcomes. We host monthly calls, maintain a maillist, and share other resources. Participants come from many different disciplines, sectors, and countries. Our chair is Anne Davies, Professor of Law and Public Policy.     

Interested? Join the mailing list by emailing Ruairi Macdonald. Find us on LinkedIn here.

Aims of our group

  • Helping public sector leaders understand how public procurement may be used to improve social outcomes through collaboration with the private and community / voluntary sectors.
  • Encouraging better alignment of procurement plans with the mission, strategy, and budget of a program, agency or government. 
  • Developing the capacity of procurement practitioners to collaborate and procure social outcomes as part of the professionalisation of public procurement.

Previous meetings

Session overview

At the Oxford POGO Club we care about social outcomes. We talk about ways to achieve better outcome in contracts public services and/or by including wider economic, social, or environmental goals in public contracts more broadly. What does this mean for the people involved in procurement and contract management? Some of us argue that the procurement professional's role should be more strategic than administrative and/or more about finding solutions through engagement with public and private stakeholders long before and long after contract award. This session was an opportunity to dig into these issues and learn more about different perspectives on the role of procurement teams and their professonialisation around the world. The meeting was held on 28th of June 2022.

Agenda

4:00 - 4:05 Opening by Chair: Anne Davies, Professor of Law and Policy, Law Faculty, University of Oxford



4:05 - 4:40 Panel presentations (Panel had 5-7 minutes each)

  • Nicolas Penagos, Head of Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS) Secretariat, OECD
  • Lucy (Stephenson) Sydney, Head of Strategic Relationships, Procurement Reform at [UK] Cabinet Office
  • Joyce Liddle, Professor of Public Leadership / Enterprise, Northumbria University
  • Steve Schooner, Nash & Cibinic Professor of Government Procurement Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Tim Cummins, President, World Commerce and Contracting & Professor, University of Leeds School of Law

4:40ish - 4:48 Questions or comments from attendees.

4:48 - 4:58 Panel members' rapid responses or reflections (panelists had up to 2 minutes each)

4:58 - 5:00 Close by Chair

Note: The Social Outcomes Conference 2022 is 8 - 9 of September and includes a procurement and social value theme. The program is now online and registration is now open for online or in person participation.

Background resources

June session recording

Session overview

On 31 May, 2022, at 4pm (UK), the Oxford Procurement of Government Outcomes Club (Oxford POGO Club) will consider the UK government’s new [Public] Procurement Bill and whether it looks likely to deliver promised transformations. The Oxford POGO Club session will be chaired by Professor Anne Davies, co-chaired by Michael BowsherQC and will include an expert panel. This is an online event and all are welcome.  

The Procurement Bill recently landed in Parliament – the first reading, a formality, took place in the House of Lords on 11 May. The second reading, alongwith debate, is scheduled for 25 May. This bill follows a consultation process titled, ‘Transforming Public Procurement’ and the launch of a National Procurement Policy Statement.

The recent Queen’s Speech, delivered to Parliament by the Prince of Wales on 10 May 2022, promised that, ‘Public sector procurement will be simplified to provide new opportunities for small businesses.’ The Prime Minister’s introduction to the speech also promised, ‘Our public procurement regime will be made more simple, transparent and accessible to better meet the country’s needs. This will bring a huge boost to businesses and voluntary, charitable and social enterprises, who will be able to compete for public contracts.’ 

The Cabinet Office’s notes accompanying the Procurement Bill explains, ‘The purpose of the Procurement Bill is to reform the United Kingdom’s public procurement regime following its exit from the European Union (EU), to create a simpler and more transparent system not based on transposed EU Directives.’

Expert Panel

  • Julian Blake, Partner, Stone King
  • Kate Gough (née Creelman), Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Malcolm Harbour CBE, Former MEP and Associate, Connected Places Catapult
  • Kieran McGaughey, Director & National Lead for Procurement Law, Lawyers in Local Government
  • Caroline Nicholas, Senior Legal Officer, International Trade Law Division, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
  • Kristen Robinson, Head of Advocacy, Open Contracting Partnership
  • Albert Sanchez Graells, Professor of Economic Law, University of Bristol Law School

See panel member (speaker) bios here.

Agenda

  • Welcome, from Anne and Michael
  • Part 1. Expert Panel Comments ( < 35 minutes)
  • Part 2. Collecting Audience Questions ( ≈ 5 minutes)
  • Part 3. Panel Rapid Responses To Selected Questions or Comments (< 15 minutes)
  • Close by Michael and Anne

Background resources

May session recording

Session overview

On 31 May, 2022, at 4pm (UK), the Oxford Procurement of Government Outcomes Club (Oxford POGO Club) will consider the UK government’s new [Public] Procurement Bill and whether it looks likely to deliver promised transformations. The Oxford POGO Club session will be chaired by Professor Anne Davies, co-chaired by Michael BowsherQC and will include an expert panel. This is an online event and all are welcome.  

The Procurement Bill recently landed in Parliament – the first reading, a formality, took place in the House of Lords on 11 May. The second reading, alongwith debate, is scheduled for 25 May. This bill follows a consultation process titled, ‘Transforming Public Procurement’ and the launch of a National Procurement Policy Statement.

The recent Queen’s Speech, delivered to Parliament by the Prince of Wales on 10 May 2022, promised that, ‘Public sector procurement will be simplified to provide new opportunities for small businesses.’ The Prime Minister’s introduction to the speech also promised, ‘Our public procurement regime will be made more simple, transparent and accessible to better meet the country’s needs. This will bring a huge boost to businesses and voluntary, charitable and social enterprises, who will be able to compete for public contracts.’ 

The Cabinet Office’s notes accompanying the Procurement Bill explains, ‘The purpose of the Procurement Bill is to reform the United Kingdom’s public procurement regime following its exit from the European Union (EU), to create a simpler and more transparent system not based on transposed EU Directives.’

Expert Panel

  • Julian Blake, Partner, Stone King
  • Kate Gough (née Creelman), Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Malcolm Harbour CBE, Former MEP and Associate, Connected Places Catapult
  • Kieran McGaughey, Director & National Lead for Procurement Law, Lawyers in Local Government
  • Caroline Nicholas, Senior Legal Officer, International Trade Law Division, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
  • Kristen Robinson, Head of Advocacy, Open Contracting Partnership
  • Albert Sanchez Graells, Professor of Economic Law, University of Bristol Law School

See panel member (speaker) bios here.

Agenda

  • Welcome, from Anne and Michael
  • Part 1. Expert Panel Comments ( < 35 minutes)
  • Part 2. Collecting Audience Questions ( ≈ 5 minutes)
  • Part 3. Panel Rapid Responses To Selected Questions or Comments (< 15 minutes)
  • Close by Michael and Anne

Background resources

May session recording

Session overview

Engaging voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations and small businesses in public procurement — an international comparative discussion. Why? Why not? How? How not? Is it working? Chaired by Oxford Professor Anne Davies and Crown VCSE Representative, Claire Dove, this online session included insights from a Tussel report on UK VCSEs in Public Procurement and a brisk tour around the world to hear from experts about how different governments engage with VCSEs and small businesses. This was followed by responses and audience Q&A.

Background resources

How contracting authorities set 'social value' priorities (February 2022)

Session Overview

Governments are increasingly trying to use public contracts to pursue economic, social, and environmental goals beyond the core goods, works or services being procured. These goals may include employment opportunities, fair labour conditions, environmental targets or working with voluntary, community, or social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. This strategic use of public procurement is called different things around the world, including buying social, social clauses, community wealth building, broader outcomes, and social value. In this Oxford POGO Club session, an expert panel compares these initiatives in various nations’ procurement policies. We discuss whether these procurement initiatives are linked to wider outcomes frameworks. We also discussed different approaches to capacity development of public bodies to help implement these policies. Practical problems with implementation will be highlighted.

Agenda

16:00-16:05. Welcome by Chair Professor Anne Davies, University of Oxford

16:05-16:55. Embedding broader economic, social and environmental well-being goals into government contracts — how should priorities be set and supported in public authorities’ procurements?

16:05-16:10. Introduction to guest co-chair and context setting by Andrea MacLean, Social Value Advisor, The Strategic Investment Board, Northern Ireland (🐤 @contactSIBNI)

Background Resources

UK Central Government (England and Wales)

Northern Ireland

Wales

Scotland

Australia

Prompt for Presentations and Discussion:

  • How do governments evaluate the effectiveness of the social value outcomes delivered in achieving the broader social, economic and environmental priorities?
  • How far can contracting authorities go in terms of setting local objectives to be delivered through social value with the need to be compliant with procurement rules and not disadvantage non local bidders?
  • Where does responsibility for social value best sit? Is this fundamentally a procurement priority or do we need to build capacity across the public sector and supplier base? How do we achieve this?
  • Is it helpful to have outcomes or performance frameworks that are not driven by procurement, but into which procurement plans can fit?

16:10-16:50. Presentation and Discussion led by Andrea MacLean, Social Value Advisor, The Strategic Investment Board, Northern Ireland

Discussion Panel

  • Josephine Mitchell, Scottish Government
  • Richard Dooner (🐤 @DoonerRichard), Programme Manager, Welsh Local Government Association
  • Lisa Beers, Senior Social Value Advisor, The Strategic Investment Board, Northern Ireland
  • Nandita Das (🐤 @NSWDPE), Senior Policy Officer, Department of Planning and Environment, New South Wales Government, Australia

Response Panel

  • Julian Blake (🐤 @Julian_A_Blake, @StoneKingLLP), Partner, Stone King
  • Clare FitzGerald, Lecturer in Management & Organisation, Kings College London
  • Ruairi MacDonald, Research Associate, Government Outcomes Lab, University of Oxford

16:35-16:50. Q&A/Open Group Discussion

17:00. Meeting closed by Chair

Transforming public procurement?

Session overview

In this month's Oxford POGO Call we revisited public procurement transformation initiatives. We discussed what we learnt from the UK Government's response to the consultation on the ‘Green Paper: Transforming public procurement’, and explore other international reform efforts.

Background Resources

Agenda

16:00-16:05        Welcome by Chair Professor Anne Davies, University of Oxford

16:05-16:50        Transforming public procurement? What we learnt from the UK Government's response to the consultation on the ‘Green Paper: Transforming public procurement’

16:05-16:10        Context Setting Professor Anne Davies, University of Oxford

Reflections on the Oxford POGO Club submission to the Green Paper consultation, what we saw as the strengths and weaknesses?

  • Introduction to guest co-chair Michael Bowsher QC, Barrister, Visiting Professor, Monckton Chambers & Kings College London

Prompt for Presentations and Discussion:

  • How has the government’s thinking moved on in response to the consultation exercise?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the proposals now being pursued?
  • Insights from international reform initiatives.

16:10-16:50        Presentation and Discussion led by Michael Bowsher QC, Barrister, Visiting Professor, Monckton Chambers & Kings College London

Discussion Panel

  • Kieran McGaughey, (🐤@KieranMcG_),Solicitor (Commercial Team), Newcastle City Council
  • Gavin Hayman (🐤 @GavinHayman_GW, @opencontracting), Executive Director, Open Contracting Partnership
  • Julian Blake (🐤 @Julian_A_Blake, @StoneKingLLP), Partner, Stone King
  • Basma Abdul Khalek, (🐤 @BasmaAbdulkhale), Economist, Institut des Finances Basil Fuleihan, Lebanon
  • Caroline Nicholas, Senior Legal Officer, International Trade Law Division, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
Oxford Procurement of Government Outcomes (POGO) November Call

This month’s Oxford POGO Club (30 November) will be looking at how green policies and environmental outcomes are being embedded in government contracts through public procurement.

Millions of carbon tonnes are produced every year during delivery of government contracts. Public procurement is increasingly being used by governments as a strategic tool to achieve broad economic, social and environmental goals beyond the core requirements of a purchase. For example, the UK government has recently issued Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/21: Taking account of Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major government contracts.

For this session, we invited Peter Smith, co-author of the book Procurement with Purpose, to share his insights on how public procurement can be leveraged to achieve additional environmental goals. Elizabeth Forster and Kate Gough will introduce theimplication of PPN 06/21 for government and suppliers. Ian Makgill from the Spend Network will present a new open data tool to help governments prioritise contracts for carbon reduction and when. We will also be joined by Professor Fredo Schotanus, from the Centre for Public Procurement (UUCePP) Utrecht University, who will introduce a call for papers for a special issue of the Sustainability journal titled: 'The new era of sustainable public procurement'.

Deploying public procurement as a strategic driver of innovation is rising up national and regional policy agendas. However, quoting from the recently published UK Innovation Strategy  “the overall culture, expertise and incentive structure of the public sector means there is a low appetite for risk and experimentation”. Overcoming this weak appetite for risk is a major challenge. While there is a deep body of research on procurement law, there is little quantified data on the innovation elements of procurement to guide decision makers.

In this POGO session we will hear about a new Consortium's examination of the research gap and their plans to bridge it. Then we will have perspectives from four specialists who are addressing the challenge and facilitating innovative procurement outcomes at city, region and country level.

October Call
Aligning open contracting in the national action plan and green paper on transforming public procurement

Our June Oxford POGO call took place on 29 June, 4-5pm BST. 

We discussed sustainable public procurement in Europe, with Katharina Vierlich, Head of Unit Public Procurement Policy at European Commission.


Our May call took place on Tuesday 25 May at 16:00 (London).

For this session, we invited leading practitioners to explore data and transparency in social value procurement. This involved a presentation on the topic, followed by a response panel. 

Background Resources

Our April call took place on Tuesday 27 April at 16:00 (London).

The focus of this month's call was system level learning in a procurement system. We explored questions on how the public procurement system is working at a regional level or national level, who gets to know and what they do with that knowledge.

Background Resources

Session recording

Our March call took place on Tuesday 24 March at 16:00 (London).

For our March call, we welcomed Elena Hoffnagle, Project Leader at Government Performance Lab, Harvard Kennedy School, and Gian Luigi Albano, procurement expert and Adjunct Professor of Economics at LUISS “G. Carli”, Rome for two short but substantive discussions on: 1. How to leverage procurement to improve social outcomes; and 2. Thinking about framework agreements.

Background Resources:

Session recording

Our February call took place on Tuesday 23th of February at 16:00 (London)

We had a short but substantive discussion of organisation culture in procurement processes. Our prompt for the panel was: Viewed through a lens of ‘culture’ are there tensions between (i) commercial and public or social value considerations (ii) transactional and partnership / relational working and/or (iii) central oversight and local leadership? 

We presented the law reform working group’s public response to a the UK Government’s Green Paper: Transforming public procurement. We also explored in more depth a key theme to emerge from the working group’s discussion – culture.

Our February call took place on Tuesday 23 February at 16:00 (GMT). 

  • We presented the law reform working group’s public response to the UK Government’s Green Paper: Transforming public procurement
  • We also explored in more depth a key theme to emerge from the working group’s discussion – culture.

Sign up to our new POGO working groups here & join the mailing list by emailing Ruairi Macdonald at ruairi.macdonald@bsg.ox.ac.uk

Context: UK Government Green Paper, Transforming Public Procurement

The UK Government has published a Green Paper, Transforming Public Procurement, that is intended to shape the future of public procurement in the UK for many years to come. "The government’s goal is to speed up and simplify our procurement processes, place value for money at their heart, and unleash opportunities for small businesses, charities and social enterprises to innovate in public service delivery". 

In this POGO law reform working group we are proposing to make a written response to this Green Paper. Please join this session by signing up by completing this short suvey to share your comments and reflections on the Green Paper.

If you have any questions about this working group or any of the others listed about please contact Leigh Crowley or Ruairi Macdonald.

POGO Club January Meeting

The session followed and built upon November's meeting discussion on the UK Government's issuing of 'Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/20 - taking account of social value in the award of central government contracts'. In this session, we heard reflections from the UK Government and continued our comparisons to see how social value is procured internationally. 

Background Resources:

To register for this event, please contact Ruairi Macdonald or Leigh Crowley.

Taking account of 'social value' in the award of central government contracts

Our May call took place on Tuesday 24th of November at 16:00 (London). 

  • We discussed "social value" in public procurement and contract management.
  • Discussants included: Terry Brewer (Social Value Portal), Julian Blake (Stone King), Ben Carpenter (Social value UK), Abby Semple (Procurement Analysis), Mehdi Shiva (University of Oxford), and Edward Hickman (ATQ Consultants). 

Our July call took place on Tuesday 28th of July at 16:00 (London). 

  • We discussed a Complex Contracting Framework and an Alliance Contracting Model in Plymouth. 
  • Discussants included: Professor Trevor Brown (John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University) and Gary Wallace (Plymouth City Council).

Our June call took place on Tuesday 30th of June at 16:00 (London). 

  • We discussed contract management and outcomes. 
  • Sebastian Barreto Cifuentes presented aspects of his PhD thesis. Daniella Jammes, Mark Roddan, Benjamin Taylor and Paul Conneely offered comments from a practical perspective.  

Our April call took place on Tuesday 28th of April at 16:00 (London). 

  • Professor Sope Williams-Elegbe from Stellenbosch University (South Africa) introduced a discussion on Outcomes Contracting vs. Corruption. 
  • Paulo Magina, Head of the OECD Public Procurement Unit, introduced a discussion on the OECD’s Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS). Check out the MAPS website here

Our March call took place on Tuesday 31st of March at 16:00 (London).

  • We switched from our regular programming to discuss: “Emergency Public Procurement & Contract Changes.” 
  • Prof. Christopher Yukins introduced our discussion. 

Our January call took place on 28th of January 2020

  • Chairperson: Anne Davies 
  • Julian Blake introduced a discussion on the topic "Professional judgment – the scope of procurement professionals’ discretion in law and practice."  
  • Abby Semple shared insights emerging from #WeBuySocialEU - a European Commission (EC) project run by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). 
  • Supporting resources included The Art of the Possible (2016) and Procurement to Partnership (2019).

Moderators