On a recent note of communicating with public sector in Sweden a couple of reflections on change in behaviour is needed. In Sweden there is, as many might know, a big change in public sector financial management. In the EU there are projects aiming at controlling public sector cost through e-procurement, e-tendering and e-invoicing. In Sweden many municipalities have come a long way in developing e-procurement from purchase to invoice.
In a recent discussion one thing became clear. Public sector in Sweden are looking at private sector ways of managing spend through category management. Rather than having 160 or so areas in which tender processes are undertaken by a small group of people (do the math of that task) each type agreement is mapped into strategic categories in which all that is needed from a strategic point of view is being added and developed.
Public sector too have long been working in silos, function by function with little if any possibility to reach the full potential in managing and controlling procurement from procure to pay. That is changing now.
But – one thing is interesting – and it would be interesting to hear what that looks like in other countries, each manager in public sector is by default aiming at spending their entire budget each year. What is allocated should be spent. If not – next years budget will be cut.
Back to motivating change in action.
How do you motivate a manager that will have their budget cut if they lower their spend? Even if this is in accordance to (most likely) the top management wishes in any public sector management team. Even if you are able to create more frame agreements, measure how well they are used, how much money is spent in each category, you still have the issue of motivating lowered total spend. That, in Sweden at least, is a challenge we look forward to see developing.