Strategic procurement

Why is a strategic approach to public procurement important?

Public procurement has a significant leverage effect on the economy and in addressing social and environmental challenges. The European directives identify this strategic approach to public procurement. The effectiveness of public spend depends largely on its contribution to achieve public policy goals.

What is needed for building this strategic procurement approach?

The procurement strategy must be practical, clear and understandable. It may be ambitious but should be pragmatic and adopt a continuous-improvement approach. It must be stable in the medium term and be able to anticipate on emerging issues or challenges.

Building a procurement strategy means formulating the goals to be achieved and translating them into an organization's managerial processes and operational terms. It’s recommendable to work together at a local level with other local authorities that share similar goals. Letting economic operators (market parties) join this cooperation can have significant advantages.

How can an organization go about designing and performing a successful procurement strategy?

A number of steps need to be taken in a consecutive order and repeated in time with a view on adjustment and improvement:

The organization must clearly and precisely identify:

  • the maturity of public procurement by performing a baseline measurement with the help of a self-assessment-tool
  • the long-term goals, objectives and the expected outcomes of procurement, related to the policies, by:
  • talking to and influencing politicians, decision makers and practitioners, in order to listen to their needs and wants, and to convince them of the need and necessity of a robust procurement approach;
  • defining the organization's strategic purchases in line with the set public policies and categorizing them depending on the expected impacts and taking into account the supply risk by exploring the market;
  • relating to changes and innovation taking place in businesses (specially small and medium-sized);
  • the resources, key-players, expertise and competences needed to operationalize the strategy and ensure its actual application;
  • the way to incorporate these choices in the management processes of the organization;
  • the performance and impact of public spend, by measurement, leading to a continuous adjustment and improvement of the procurement strategy and its related processes.

The content of these pages is based on the Building a Procurement Strategy Guidance Toolkit produced in the Urban Agenda for the EU.

The strategic level

The content is under construction.

The tactical level 

The content is under construction.

Operational level

The content is under construction.