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The 2019 International Civil Service Effectiveness (InCiSE) Index has been published today by the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. The index aims to help countries determine how their central civil services are performing and to learn from each other. The full story is at and it makes fascinating reading.

The InCiSE Index can be used as a performance improvement tool for civil service leaders, as well as an accountability tool which allows citizens, government officials and politicians. The Index is a composite measure drawn from public sources and looks holistically at capabilities (6.6% weighting), crisis & risk management (8.2%), digital services (7.4%), fiscal & financial management (8.8%), HR management (8.2%), inclusiveness (8.3%), integrity (7.8%), openness (9.0%), policy making (9.8%), procurement (7.7%), regulation (9.4%), and tax administration (8.8%).

For example, the procurement indicator is defined as “the extent to which the government’s procurement processes are efficient, competitive, fair and pursues value for money”. I’d note that, even though its weighting is 7.7%, procurement and contract management also contributes to other outcomes such as openness, integrity, regulation and financial management. Note also that the procurement indicator is sourced from the OECD’s Public Procurement Survey 2016 and Opentender analysis of public procurement data, and is rated by InCiSE as ‘amber’ data quality.

With these observations in mind, what were the results? 

Of the 38 rated countries, the USA is ranked 11 (strong on capabilities and crisis but less so on policy and average on procurement); the Republic of Korea is ranked 9th (strong for the transparency of fiscal & financial management and 4th for procurement); Australia is 5th (strong on crisis & risk management, integrity, policy and regulation but less so on capabilities, digital services and average on procurement); Canada is 3rd (strong on HR and inclusiveness but average on digital and procurement); New Zealand is 2nd overall (ranked top for integrity, capabilities and procurement, but average on tax and digital), and the United Kingdom is rated #1 (top for regulation, policy and 3rd for procurement but below average on digital services).  

This parallels and contrasts to IACCM’s Jurisdictional and Corporate Benchmark of Procurement and Contracting Practices, which was commissioned by the Canadian Government for release in February 2019 and based on research with our global member base of public and private sector organizations. The benchmark looked at eight competencies through the procurement and contract management lifecycle, including Vision and Strategy, Organizational Design and Workforce, Competencies, Technology Enablement, Standards and Tools, Market Engagement, Contract Management Process, Risk and Compliance, and Managing Effective Relationships with Suppliers. The Canadian Government was wanting to understand how they stacked up against other countries, including in being easy to do business with.

New Zealand again ranked high in our research and this is demonstrated in the Whole-of-Government initiatives by which the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in "delivering policy, services, advice and regulation" as well as contract & commercial management uplift along with IACCM. New Zealand has the challenge of being a small market, hence works hard on attracting and retaining local and global suppliers. Denmark ranked high based on its eprocurement, but less so in its traditional procurement, and the Netherlands rated very highly (although it was just average on the InCiSE report), along with the Republic of Korea and Singapore. And the Canadian, US and UK governments? Like the InCiSE report says, there is room for performance improvement, however, we noted that the US does well on innovation and Canada is open to learn (as evidenced by the IACCM benchmark and the actions which are flowing from it).

It is great to see procurement management being seen as a major contributor to International Civil Service Effectiveness. The InCiSE report quotes the World Bank (2016) that public procurement “is a key variable in determining development outcomes and, when carried out in an efficient and transparent manner, it can play a strategic role in delivering more effective public services. It can also act as a powerful tool for development with profoundly positive repercussions for both good governance and more rapid and inclusive growth”. 

Our IACCM vision is a world where all trading relationships deliver social and economic benefit. The InCiSE report and our IACCM research reinforces this dual outcome and the role that procurement management has in promoting integrity, openness, and inclusiveness. 

Like the Blavatnik School of Government which “combine the academic rigor of the top-ranked university in the world with an applied, real-world focus”, IACCM’s member engagement and research allows us to combine the best of both worlds. There are lessons to be learned for us in this research and through this year we will be reflecting upon our IACCM conference theme – Creating Value Through Change: Contract Economics, Ethics, Innovation – to encourage a balance of economics, ethics and innovation. Discover more at

Bruce Everett, Regional CEO, World Commerce & Contracting, Asia Pacific Region (APAC)

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