Best Value Approach in Public Procurement: Improving ‘Best’ through Enhanced Preparation Phase

Authors: Frank P. Steller


The Best Value Approach (BVA) offers an innovative method to get the most out of Supplier-
Customer Relationships (SCRs). This paper argues that the preparation phase should be enhanced
when applying BVA in the context of public procurement. Literature on SCRs learns how
successful relationships are governed bilaterally during execution. This literature also describes
which processes are taking place prior to contracting. Here, the concepts of this literature are
applied to analyses the specific public procurement context. The impact of this context is, that
the tender process is governed unilaterally. Further, BVA – as applied in public procurement – is
viewed through the lenses of the SCR literature. Although BVA partly leads to bilateral
governance, the impact of the public procurement context remains. For practitioners wanting to
improve BVA’s effect in public procurement, the paper offers an enhancement of the approach.
For theory building, the analysis leads to a further differentiation of the concept of governance.
For regulators, it offers something to consider: focus on principles or rules?
Keywords: Best Value Approach, Buyer-Seller Relationship, Relationship Governance, Public