Comment and analysis from the experts in public sector tendering
Monday, March 1st, 2021
I joined Tenders Direct in February 2020, bringing with me over 9 years’ experience in writing and creating content for a variety of appeals and campaigns. Applying my skills to public sector procurement, I ensure our resources are easily accessible, concise and most of all, useful. By analysing our unique insights and monitoring our sources for the latest market news, I also provide readers with up-to-date and relevant information.
In my free time I like to keep busy by finding new hobbies to challenge myself with. Currently I am making sure that my old easel and mountain bike don’t feel neglected, as well as attempting the odd bit of woodwork.
On March 18th, the government acknowledged the strain on the public sector by making changes to procurement policy, and ensuring resources can be sourced as a matter of urgency.
These policy changes allow for the following:
direct award due to extreme urgency;
direct award due to absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights;
call off from an existing framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system;
call for competition using a standard procedure with accelerated timescales;
extending or modifying a contract during its term.
What does this mean for suppliers?
If buyers can demonstrate that they have an ‘extreme urgency’ for goods, services or works, and/or there are no other suitable suppliers, they can enter into contracts without competing or advertising as long as they have satisfied several criteria categories. On top of this, buyers also have the ability to make changes or extend existing agreements.
For accelerated timescales, you will have to pay very close attention to tender notices:
Check your tender alerts thoroughly.
Make sure you have the people and resources needed to complete your bid.
Ensure your pricing strategy works for your business.
Check you have addressed all the key criteria.
For suppliers providing ‘non-urgent’ goods and services
Despite uncertainty with other industries, the public sector will always have a requirement for goods and services. In the last week, the number of tender notices published for the UK was 1613, which is not far off the weekly average of 1664 seen in 2019. Looking across the UK, ROI and EU, there are around 25,000 live notices.
There is reassurance in knowing that there is still a drive to maintain normality during such unprecedented circumstances. We will be keeping a close eye on these figures and letting you know if there are significant changes and providing you with more insight into the sectors that may be affected.
We hope your workplace has not been affected too dramatically by the unprecedented situations caused by COVID-19.
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is looking for innovative and novel ways of cleaning ambulances quickly to help combat Coronavirus.
After transporting a patient suspected of having COVID-19, it can take up to 45 minutes to clean the ambulance used. When you also consider that many ambulance cleaning facilities are located some distance from their hospital or base, current methods are adding delays onto a significantly busy service.
With their new Open Call for Innovation, DASA are seeking help to identify rapid sanitising technology for ambulances. The deadline was originally listed as 1 April 2020 – since first publishing this post, the deadline has been removed and the call is still live.
DASA are looking for solutions which can be deployed rapidly, and will be suitable for use beyond ambulances – trains, buses and even in rooms. There is a particular interest in mobile, easy to use and robust solutions.
The UK’s first Budget as a non-EU state was announced on 11th March 2020 by Chancellor Rishi Sunak – who had only 4 weeks preparation time, after the surprise resignation of his predecessor Sajid Javid.
There were plenty of predictions for what we could expect to see within the budget, including tampon tax, tuition fees and inheritance tax (all of which were covered). However, for this post we will look at the announcements that are significant to suppliers seeking public sector contracts.
Coronavirus is a big issue as it can, and likely will, affect most businesses across the UK. The Chancellor mentioned that there will be ‘significant impact on the UK economy,’ but this will be short lived and ‘life will return to normal’. To combat the risk of 1/5 of the working age population being off work, the NHS will receive the funding it needs ‘whether it’s millions of pounds or billions of pounds’, to combat this virus. The three point Coronavirus outbreak plan has a value of £30bn – but will receive further funding if necessary.
An extra £6bn will be spent on the NHS to pay for 40 new hospitals, 50,000 nurses, and 50 million more GP surgery appointments. This is in addition to the £34bn which has already been promised to the NHS over the next 5 years.
£5.2bn was announced to help protect over 300,000 properties across England from flooding over the next 6 years.
The biggest investment in infrastructure since 1955 was announced with a budget of £600bn – this will be divided as follows:
£790m for England
£640m for Scotland
£360m for Wales
£210 for Northern Ireland
A significant £2.5bn pothole fund was announced to tackle an estimated 50m potholes across England over the next 5 years.
A safety fund of £1bn will be used to remove unsafe cladding from buildings above 18 metres tall in response to the Grenfell fire.
Affordable homes programme extended, with £1.1bn allocated to create 70,000 new homes in high demand areas.
£650m will be used to tackle homelessness, with the aim of providing an extra 6,000 places for rough sleepers.
The government are keen to promote greener transport and have allocated £500m towards creating new electric car charging points.
A £270m Green Heat Networks scheme will encourage the adoption of low carbon heat sources.
£640m Nature for Climate Fund will plant over 40 million trees and restore 35,000 hectares of peatland across England.
£9.2 million funding package to introduce smart waste tracking and schemes to tackle fly-tipping more effectively
By 2024, the government wishes to invest £22bn a year into innovation. This is £4bn more than previously promised, and is claimed to be ‘the fastest and largest increase in R&D spend ever’.
‘The government will invest that money in the people, ideas and industries that will cement the UK’s world-leading position in science and technologies ranging from nuclear fusion to electric vehicles and life sciences.’
With such a significant investment, many exciting opportunities will open up for a range of organisations, helping the UK hold a leading position in science Post-Brexit.
What impact will this have on public procurement?
The impact of Corona virus will be unavoidable, but the measures the government are willing to take are reassuring. The significant investment in prevention and treatment will limit the impact this virus has on the workforce and business as a whole.
Overall, the substantial investment in health and infrastructure can only result in more contract opportunities for suppliers. The public sector will need companies to build hospitals, fix roads and develop housing.
Most interesting is the investment in ‘Innovation’. This funding will give suppliers scope to help the UK hold world-leading positions across numerous sectors – creating opportunities where there might have been none previously.
Now that the budget has been announced, contracts will be getting drawn up and issued promptly. Ensure you get notified of these opportunities first with www.tendersdirect.co.uk
If you have any questions or thoughts on the budget, leave them in the comments below.