Mita Marra

Centralization and technological innovation to transform public procurement

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Since 2000, Italian procurement transformation policy has co-existed with two different approaches to reform, which are working in parallel and sometimes at cross-purposes. A supply-driven approach focuses on tightening the controls on spending to tap economies of scale. CONSIP has spread information and technology (IT) services across public agencies, providing standardized e-procurement solutions. CONSIP plays as the central broker between public agencies and private vendors through aggregating demand at the best price and quality conditions available on the market. Conversely, behind e-procurement one finds innovative methods of government provision of public services, which in turn point to key management strategies and capacities, aiming to gain economies of scope. In this perspective, CONSIP is called on to develop IT techniques that facilitate contract management, promoting efforts to decentralize procurement decisions while infusing technology, and changing local assessment practices of vendor choice and contract performance. The paper discusses coordination approaches to centrally guide the decentralization process of public e-procurement, raising a number of implications for future procurement reform.


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