One-stop solution for public sector procurement
Posted by Alastair Caithness on January 17, 2013
It goes without saying that ensuring best value for money is vital for any public sector organisation – but particularly in times of recession.
Local authorities, NHS trusts, transport operators and other public bodies are also bound by strict rules on procurement, which affect every purchasing decision made in the public sector.
Public procurement regulations apply to all public sector contracts over threshold values – starting at £113,000 – and are designed to ensure free and fair access to, and competition for, public sector contracts.
EU legislation means that contracting authorities must follow transparent and non-discriminatory principles when purchasing goods and services, while the regulations set out procedures and standards for awarding contracts.
All public contracts that are above the set threshold usually have to be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), through a contract notice.
These notices are published in the online version of the OJEU – Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). The English public sector’s database of low-value notices, Contracts Finder, and the Public Contracts Scotland portal also publish contract notices from TED.
A growing number of UK public authorities now handle tendering electronically in order to comply with the latest EU legislation – and crucially, save both money and time – and the European Union is proposing to make electronic tendering compulsory in the next few years.
Procurement specialist Millstream runs mytenders, a tender publication and management service that enables public sector buyers to submit fully compliant UK and EU tenders from just one source.
mytenders is a simple, one-stop solution for purchasers, with more than 700 UK public sector organisations already using the website to publish both low and high value tenders.
The mytenders team has extensive knowledge and considerable experience in providing a complete electronic tendering service, having worked with more than 12,000 public sector organisations since mytenders was launched in 2002.
Managing director Tim Williams said: “Both large and small public sector organisations use the service, such as Somerset County Council and Sheffield and Derby City Councils, but small district councils and NHS trusts probably gain the most benefit as they don’t always have full-time procurement staff to handle tendering.
“We developed the mytenders pro service to enable purchasers to manage the publication and procurement process in one place.
“We’ve designed a number of features to make life easier, including the ability to attach documents to notices for interested suppliers to download, to receive RFQ, PQQ or tender responses from suppliers electronically in a secure environment, to provide online clarifications and respond only once to questions, and invite selected suppliers to the second stage of a procurement process.
“We also send clients’ notices on to the OJEU and Contracts Finder so as wide an audience as possible can see the tender notices.”
mytenders was initially established for purchasing authorities to create tender notices for submission to the OJEU, and it has developed into the portal it is today where authorities can create, publish and manage both OJEU and non-OJEU tenders.
“We know the regulations can be complex so our notice creation tool is a simple way to publish your procurement notices and our additional functions allow you to manage your entire process online and in one secure environment.
“You only need to publish your notices once with us and we can ensure they are forwarded to the OJEU or Contracts Finder – many organisations use mytenders simply to meet their requirements to publish on Contracts Finder as our interface is much easier to use.”
Purchasers can also receive guidance from the mytenders support team, which makes sure tenders are published correctly and customers get the most out of the system.
Millstream also runs the Tenders Direct website, which allows private companies from all sectors throughout Europe who are seeking new business opportunities to identify business opportunities from the public sector, as well as national procurement portals for Norway and Scotland.
Tim added: “With so many options and rules, mytenders makes procurement and purchasing decisions much simpler.”
For more information, visit www.mytenders.org or call 0844 561 0670.