Skip to main content

Public sector buyers "aren't comfortable" online

Just 17 per cent of those responsible for purchasing in public sector bodies have done so online, according to new research.

The survey, conducted by public sector procurement firm YPO, questioned purchasing managers in public bodies.

It found that despite the small percentage claiming they did not purchase good for work purposes online, 88 per cent had undertaken online shopping at home.

A high percentage of participants – 73 per cent - said they had bought energy, insurance and similar service online at home, yet only 5 per cent had done so for their job.

YPO managing director Simon Hill claims his company’s customers are talented, experienced public sector purchasers aware of how to secure the best deals.

“It was surprising our research showed that although public sector buyers enjoy saving time and money shopping online at home, when it comes to their buying job, mare than half still reach for a catalogue, pen and fax to do it the hard way,” he said.

Security and compliance creates barriers

The research claims that the reasons for this are because those whose work involves procurement are concerned about compliance, online payments and audit trails.

Exactly 50 per cent of respondents said that they weren’t confident an online purchase for work would be compliant with the requirements of their organisation.

For 23 per cent, online payment issues including security and not wanting to pay up front is a barrier, whereas 15 per cent needed an auditable paper trail that they believe Internet shopping could not provide.

However, the survey also claims that of those who do make online purchases as part of their job, the majority has done so online for the first time within the past three years.

Hill believes this could signify a shift in public sector Internet buying is “just around the corner.”