Benchmarking in public procurement

2008 | Benchmarking: An International Journal, 15(06)

Purpose: This paper investigates the technique of benchmarking to improve the quality of the public procurement process and discusses the importance of benchmarking to overcome perceived weaknesses with these processes. This is followed by a case study of Sri‐Lanka, exploring the difficulties faced by public sector employees in separating the daily business of government from the political influences of its elected leaders.
Design/methodology/approach: Initially the literature review was used to examine the key principles of government procurement and how they could be benchmarked. This formed the theoretical base for the discussion. The case study of Sri‐Lanka has been used very effectively to discuss the experiences of developing countries.
Findings: It is revealed that reform solutions within government procurement systems must include measures that address issues of accountability, transparency, value for money, a professional work force and ethics.
Research limitations/implications: The major limitation of this study is that it relies solely only on the experience of Sri‐Lanka. Perhaps including the experiences of other developing countries such as India, Bangladesh and Indonesia could increase the transference of findings of Sri‐Lanka to these countries as well.
Practical implications: Poor procurement practices hinder sustainable development and negatively impact upon economic growth. Therefore, developing countries need to recognise the importance of the technique of benchmarking to improve the public procurement process.
Originality/value: Provides an effective framework to public sector employees in developing countries to benchmark and overcome weaknesses in the public procurement process.

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