Economy and Infrastructure

05.04.18

Half of public sector procurement leads still not preparing for Brexit

Public sector procurement professionals have voiced a swathe of concerns regarding Brexit, with almost half arguing that they are unable to prepare for it – despite its major implications for the sector – because future trade arrangements are still unclear.

The findings, included in a CIPS survey, also revealed that 32% of these procurement professionals haven’t done any work to prepare for Brexit yet, while almost one in 10 said it was difficult to secure contracts after March 2019, when the UK is set to leave the EU.

But the survey, which looked at more than 2,000 supply chain managers, was not wholly negative. It found that 24% professionals have added contract clauses to allow for renegotiation after currency fluctuations and are looking for new suppliers – suggesting, therefore, a mixed picture across the public sector when it comes to Brexit.

A total of 40% of respondents said they were preparing risk analyses ahead of Brexit, but only 12% said they were fully prepared for the move. Similarly, only 13% said they were strengthening relationships with EU suppliers.

They have so far assigned varying levels of money to Brexit strategies: 11% spent less than £10,000 so far, while a quarter spent over £100,000 and almost half spent absolutely nothing “as they remain inert about what to do.”

A staggering 22% of respondents also said they didn’t know how much time public sector professionals needed to be fully prepared once the government had agreed an EU deal.

CIPS group director Duncan Brock commented: “Whether you’re working for business or for the taxpayer, higher costs in the supply chain is a big issue as Brexit reshapes supply chains.

“This aura of inertia is compounded by a lack of clarity about the direction of travel even with the new transition period arrangement. The government needs to get a Brexit proposal on the table and start negotiating. Though the noise around negotiations should be dampened, it only fuels uncertainty and causes more damage to UK suppliers.”

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