Public procurement as a tool to stimulate innovation - Science and Technology Committee Contents


The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, under the chairmanship of Lord Krebs, is conducting an inquiry into the Government's use of procurement as a tool to stimulate innovation within industry. The inquiry will focus in particular on the Department for Transport and its related public bodies, as a working example of the current procurement practices within departments. However relevant evidence is welcomed on examples of procurement practices from other departments, and on the overarching role of procurement as a tool to stimulate innovation.


The inquiry seeks to investigate the extent to which the current procurement practices and processes in place are effective in encouraging innovation within industry and supporting the development and diffusion of innovations. It will focus on:

1.   The role of public procurement as a tool for stimulating commercially valuable innovation within industry

2.   The success or failure of current public procurement processes, mechanisms and tools in stimulating innovation within industry

3.   Potential mechanisms and processes for stimulating innovation in industry through public procurement, and any relevant comparisons overseas

4.   The impact of departmental and other government structures, processes and cultures on the use of procurement as an innovation tool, and cross-government and departmental efforts to co-ordinate and reconcile conflicts between policy objectives.

The inquiry will not cover innovation in the procurement process, such as e-procurement.


The Committee invite submissions on the following points:


1.  What is the rationale for using public procurement as an innovation tool to stimulate innovation within the industries on which government relies? And what evidence is there to support its use as an innovation tool?

Co-ordination of innovation and procurement policies

2.  To what extent are strategic departmental and cross-government policy objectives meshed with procurement and innovation policies and how might this be improved? What cross-government mechanisms and co-ordination is in place to help to facilitate this?

Mechanisms through which government procurement can stimulate innovation

3.  What public procurement mechanisms are currently used to stimulate innovation within industry? How successful are they? How is the success of such measures evaluated?

4.  How might public procurement more effectively stimulate innovation within industry?

5.  What lessons can we learn from successes and failures within the procurement processes of other countries to stimulate innovation within industry?

The procurement process

6.  What incentive do those working within public sector organisations have to use procurement as an approach to stimulating innovation?

7.  To what extent are those responsible for public procurement of research and development "intelligent customers"?

·  Do they have the appropriate expertise to identify innovative solutions to procurement needs?

·  How well do they identify when innovation could provide a solution to a procurement need?

·  How effective is the identification of and dialogue with appropriate potential suppliers?

8.  What obstacles do those responsible for procurement within public sector organisations face in encouraging innovation through their procurement strategies? How might these be tackled?

9.  What obstacles do potential suppliers of innovative solutions face in responding to public procurement requirements? How might these be tackled?

The Committee would also be interested to hear about any other issues not already covered by this call for evidence that are relevant to the scope of the inquiry.

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