Best value

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The Best value program was introduced in 1997 in the UK by the newly elected Labour government. It was a reaction to the inefficiency of large, bureaucratic structures that support the construction of roads, education, housing, social assistance, etc., through the regional network of approximately 500 units of local government. Although usually this kind of solution proved to be quite effective, it was not sufficiently flexible and sensitive to the diverse needs of customers. Even the introduction of the compulsory competitive tendering did not help and also brought unintended consequences - contributed to the development of attitudes and culture of defensive-oriented actions.

Salvation was to be the concept of Best Value - in this case instead of the previously applied specific controls and orders, government adopted a minimalist approach, leaving the development of specific solutions to the authorities on local level. Best value means the overall combination of quality, price and other relevant services, which in total are optimal relative to the demand requirements of a legal person or public authority. Concept of Best value is used when it is necessary to determine and compare the parameters and factors other than quality and price to choose the best offer.

Strengths of Best value

  • Allows for greater flexibility of the subjective comparison of technical parameters and costs of determining the appropriate value of the strengths, weaknesses and risks as it brings acceptance of the tender.
  • Allows to select the best suppliers, who most likely will provide good quality products at the right time and at a reasonable price.
  • Uses experience and opinions of independent experts.

Weaknesses of BV

  • Uses too many criteria, which may make it difficult to see important, relevant aspects.
  • Requires significant investment in the staff and resources needed for expert analysis
  • It is subjective and difficult to assess and document.

The key concept of Best Value

  • Public consultation and political leadership - requiring a stronger government and more meaningful community involvement in the design and provision of services.
  • Review of services consistent with the principles of entrepreneurship - which requires authorities to review the implementation of the services, covering the entire organization in order to obtain answers to basic questions such as: What is expected of us? What we offer? How can we improve the situation?
  • Strategic Shopping and voluntary use of the competition rules - requiring the authorities to consider the possibility of obtaining a higher value through the implementation of sub-contracting services or change the way they are provided.

References

  • Adams, K. T., Phillips, P. S., & Morris, J. R. (2000). A radical new development for sustainable waste management in the UK: the introduction of local authority Best Value legislation. Resources, conservation and recycling, 30(3), 221-244.
  • Bovaird, T. (2008). Emergent strategic management and planning mechanisms in complex adaptive systems: the case of the UK Best Value initiative. Public Management Review, 10(3), 319-340.
  • Hallsworth, M., & Rutter, J. (2011). Making policy better. Institute for Government.
  • McAdam, R., & Walker, T. (2003). An inquiry into balanced scorecards within best value implementation in UK local government. Public Administration, 81(4), 873-892.
  • McAdam, R., & Walker, T. (2004). Evaluating the best value framework in UK local government services. Public Administration and Development, 24(3), 183-196.