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Public Sector Round Up 07.08.20

In the news this week planning reforms were introduced to support SME’s, the government announced a £20m fund to help businesses recover from the pandemic, and a £90m dynamic purchasing system designed to drive the government’s uptake of artificial-intelligence technologies was opened.

Our top OJEU notices for this week include programming software for the British Film Institute, media buying services for care provider Anchor Hanover, and a grounds maintenance contract for the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Below you will also find a breakdown of the number of tenders published this week.


In the news this week

Housing Secretary launches a ‘once in a generation’ planning reforms

On 6 August, the Housing Secretary launched a set of ‘landmark reforms’ aiming to speed up and modernise the planning system and boost economic recovery, with a specific focus in supporting SME builders.

Government announces £20m funding to support small businesses across England

The government announced that it is launching a £20m funding package to help small businesses recover from the pandemic. The funding will mean that small and medium businesses will have access to grants of between £1k to £5k to help them technology, equipment and advice to help them bounce back from the effects of lockdown.

CCS opens £90m framework to drive government uptake of AI

The Crown Commercial Service opened bidding on a £90m two-year dynamic purchasing system (DPS) designed to drive government’s uptake of artificial-intelligence technologies.

The dynamic purchasing system – which, unlike a traditional static framework, can add new suppliers and services over the course of its lifespan – opened on 3 August. The deal is scheduled to run for 18 months, and conclude on 2 February 2022 – but this could be extended, CCS said.


Tenders published in the last 7 days

1,048

645

307

Total Public
Sector Tenders
Low-Value noticesOJEU notices
Tenders published between 31.07.20 & 06.08.20

Top OJEU contract award notices

Title: United Kingdom-London: Programming services of packaged software products
Short description: The BFI launched BFI Player, a UK video on demand service, in 2013. The service is strategically important in helping the BFI fulfil its remit in building audiences for classic, independent, archive and world cinema. BFI would like to optimise its team structure in order to be as efficient as possible and are therefore considering outsourcing the development of BFI Player to a team/organisation who can work as an integrated extension of the core in-house product team.
Published By: British Film Institute
Date Published: 4 August 2020
Framework/DPS: No
Value excluding VAT: £200,000
Number of tenders received: 15
Contractors: Graph Digital Limited
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE

Title: United Kingdom-Bradford: Advertising and marketing services
Short description: Media buying and advertising
Published By: Anchor Hanover
Date Published: 5 August 2020
Framework/DPS: No
Value excluding VAT: £2,400,000
Number of tenders received: 5
Contractors: Space and Time Media
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE

Title: United Kingdom-Kensington: Grounds maintenance services
Short description: To provide grounds maintenance services to the communal grounds and parks areas in the North of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Published By: The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Date Published: 30 July 2020
Framework/DPS: No
Value excluding VAT: £3,408,025.40
Number of tenders received: 4
Contractors: Tree Wise Men
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE


Our New Business Team are here to help you identify the solutions that will have the biggest positive impact for you and your business.


You may be unsure of what you need from a tender alerts service, or you may know exactly what you need and want to make sure you can get it. No matter what your questions are, our New Business Team will use their expert knowledge to make recommendations and discuss how will meet your needs.

If you would like to chat to a member of our team to find out how we can help you, please call us on 0800 222 9009.


In the meantime, have a look at our range of solutions on our website and discover how we can ensure you never miss a tender again.


Tenders Direct is the UK’s most accurate tender alert service. We are the only service to guarantee that with us – you’ll never miss a tender.
Visit www.tendersdirect.co.uk to find out more.

Rapid sanitising technology for ambulances needed to combat Coronavirus

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.

More information about this Open Call for Innovation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-call-for-rapid-sanitising-technology-for-ambulances

Opportunities in the public healthcare sector

At the time of writing, there are over 7,500 healthcare notices published on Tenders Direct in over 300 categories from aprons to vascular dilators and power tools to vaccines. The total healthcare spending in England in 2018/19 was around £129 billion and is continuing to rise. Despite the financial pressures in the NHS, it’s clear that there are is an abundance of opportunities in the UK healthcare sector.

Blurred lines for innovation in public and private healthcare

We’ve been keeping an eye on recent news and trends in the UK. The Financial Times looks at how the lines are blurring for public and private healthcare with digital tools and advice websites changing how patients engage with medicine. In 2018 the NHS launched a tech funding scheme to help bring the public health system up to date with latest innovations emerging from the healthcare start-up community. Health tech start-ups are looking to sell their services directly to consumers in private markets, as well as rolling them out in the public sector. Read the full article here.

A call for designers and providers of digital and mobile health interventions and programmes

On the topic of technology, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have release a draft guideline in which it suggests health professionals can consider digital and mobile interventions as a supplement to regular services to support behaviour changes in people at risk of developing chronic conditions. A consultation on the draft recommendations is open until 6 March 2020, the NICE are inviting comments from designers and providers of digital and mobile health interventions and programmes. Read the full article here.

Looking at new ways of care

Backed by £14 million of investment, seven ‘accelerator’ sites will be the first to deliver new standards for care. As part of the NHS’ longer term plan to support England’s aging population and those with complex needs, local health service and council teams will begin the roll out of Urgent Community Response teams. Further areas across England are to receive extra funding to begin work to the new standards from 2021, with every part of the country covered by 2023. Read the full story here.

Staffing, recruitment and training

As often reported, there is a shortage of nurses in the NHS. There are currently 40,000 nursing roles currently unfilled will the NHS are looking for overseas nurses to fill some of these gaps. Staff from the Philippines and India now make up most of overseas nurses, providing opportunities for recruitment agencies. Read the full article here.

Tenders Direct provides hundreds of keyword categories covering every health-related product and service tendered for, including all those procured which are related to the above articles. From health and social staff recruitment to the provision of new digital technology and everything in between. Thousands of notices are sorted using our unique category system so that we can deliver relevant notices on a daily basis, and you can quickly and easily find relevant opportunities.

Search our categories on Tenders Direct, or contact our team on 0800 222 9009 to see how we can help you find new business for your company.

The challenges of scaling up and winning bigger business – and how Proactis can help

Winning new business is difficult. Often it’s most difficult for new and emerging companies to challenge the established order, especially if they’re doing things in a different way. As businesses expand and develop, they begin to examine different avenues, moving away from ad-hoc smaller pieces of work to looking at more formal access routes to substantial contracts. 

Here we arrive at the wonderful world of bidding, proposals and tendering (you’ll see these terms being used interchangeably, but don’t worry they all mean the same). As potential contract sizes get larger, the demands placed on prospective bidders become ever more arduous and detailed, formal submissions are required for public and private sector buyers alike. 

As you might expect, larger companies have more resources to dedicate to business development and specifically to bidding for work. A recent survey of bid professionals showed just 20% worked in organisations of less than 100 employees and only 12% were the sole responsible resource in the organisation*. 

Unfortunately for smaller organisations, research has repeatedly shown a direct correlation between the level of resource employed in preparing proposals and success rates. The good news for developing organisations is that there are some relatively easy steps to take to improve proposals. A recent industry study shows that nearly half of all procurement professionals believe suppliers are letting themselves down with their proposals and that they are of poor quality. With the general standard being low, smart thinking and some effort can make a big difference.

If you are at the stage where you are or soon will be submitting proposals as part of your business development strategy then we can support you. We offer a range of support from analysis of current bid strategy and support with a live bid to a review of a past proposal.

To discuss, contact Andrew Watson, Bid Consultancy and Training Manager at Proactis Tenders Limited – Andrew.Watson@proactis.com

*APMP UK Compensation Report 2019

A round up of 2019

Another year has passed and we’ve had a busy year at Tenders Direct! We’ve reviewed approximately 68,000 notices and have categorised and published over 40,000 and trained over 150 delegates on our public sector bid writing courses.

Alongside these, we value the feedback we get from our customers, and use this to make continuous improvements to the services that we provide. Key highlights this year have been: 

Opportunity Manager – We’ve upgraded our bid management tool to make planning, preparing and coordinating your day-to-day bidding activity simple from a single pipeline view. You can allocate tasks, set reminders and attach notes for all your bids and create an audit trail of every action.

Competitor Tracking Alerts – A new feature developed to allow you to track the successes of your rivals providing market intelligence on their bid strategy and capabilities, so that you can inform your own public sector strategy. These alerts notify you when any organisation you choose to track are announced as winners of above threshold public contracts.

CPD accreditation – We’re proud to announce that our courses are now CPD accredited. If you’re a member of a professional body, completing one of our one day public sector tendering courses in London, Manchester or Birmingham will count towards your CPD training hours.

Opportunities

Looking back over the last year we’ve seen several articles pointing towards the positivity in the public sector, but one that really stood out to us was a report the Education Technology framework in which it was highlighted that 78% of the 40 suppliers are SMEs. We’ve seen new opportunities in all sectors, from ICT frameworks for education to Green City deals and places on frameworks for niche products that aren’t catered for in traditional commercial agreements. There are opportunities in the public sector for businesses in all industries and sizes and we’ll continue to help you find these quickly and easily.

Brexit

Brexit has, of course, been at the forefront for much of 2019. For the most part the legal framework for public procurement and the different procedures available to contracting authorities will remain the same. Should we result in a no-deal Brexit, one key difference for contracting authorities will be the need to send notices to a new UK e-notification service instead of the current EU Publications Office. Head to Gov.uk for more information, and to keep up to date with information in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead, whilst there is much uncertainty about what will happen with a confirmed Brexit delay until 31st January 2020, for now, we still remain part of the EU and therefore the new thresholds published by the European Commission will still apply. Read the new thresholds for 2020/2021 here.

As always, if you’ve got any questions related to finding and winning business in the public sector get in touch via our website, or call 0800 222 9009.

Public Contracts Roundup

roundupblog

Some recent hot topics and interesting opportunities from the world of public procurement…

High Spend 2

The BBC has acquired some illuminating documents relating to the High Speed 2 project that are a tad problematic for some ministers. A letter sent by the Transport Secretary to the Chancellor in 2016 shows that ministers were aware of a major cost overrun even before phase 2 of the project was signed off.

This follows regular – and recent – assurances from the Department for Transport that all was progressing according to plan. The second phase of HS2 is now under review… via BBC News

Transatlantic Trade-off

Chlorinated chicken is in the news again as the government ramps up efforts to secure trade deals outside of Europe in expectation of a no-deal Brexit. Opposition to the concept is strong, as it was with the EU/USA Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which was ultimately abandoned in 2016.

Concerns centre around hygiene standards in the US food supply chain – the reason behind the infamous chlorine-washing process for meat products – and increased access to UK public contracts for US businesses. Fears that UK public services could be commercialised will be a key point of contention domestically if and when negotiations commence. via The Independent

Tunnel Trouble

Whether it be ferries or railways, those responsible for managing the UK’s transport infrastructure can’t seem to catch a break. Now it’s the roads: Transport for London has been forced to postpone the award of the Silvertown Tunnel contract – valued at £1 billion – following a legal challenge from the German / Spanish joint venture Silver Thames Connect (STC).

The project aims to relieve congestion in the heavily used Blackwall Tunnel, but the current completion date in 2025 will undoubtedly be pushed back substantially: the light at the end of the tunnel just got further away for frustrated commuters! via building.co.uk


Other recent stories…

HMRC is contacting businesses about no-deal Brexit → via Public  Technology

New funding to assist struggling high streets → via The Guardian

More investment in innovative green transport technology →  via gov.co.uk

Tees Valley Combined Authority announces transport plan → via Public Sector Executive


Top Tenders

Prior Information Notice for the Tipner West Industry Day – Portsmouth City Council are engaging with potential suppliers for the £1.3 billion Tipner Peninsula regeneration project.

Framework Agreement for furniture supply – The Department for Education is looking for the supply and installation of furniture with a projected value of £140 million.

Dynamic Purchasing System for construction consultants – Swan Housing Association has a need for a range of professional services up to a value of £175 million.

 

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Public Contracts Roundup

Roundup

What’s new and noteworthy over the last few weeks in the world of public procurement?

No signal

The bane of waste in public procurement – the National Audit Office (NAO) – has again uncovered substantial cost overruns and delays in a large-scale project: the Emergency Services Network. Already expected to cost £9.3 billion – almost 50% over budget – the NAO expressed concern that further delays to the network’s completion are possible.

The network was originally intended to go live this year although this was after an earlier delay that resulted in the whole project being reappraised in 2017, at which point various remedial measures were enacted such as contracts being renegotiated and changes made to it’s management.

The existing radio network – Airwave – will now have to be in place until the revised completion date of the project in 2022, at an additional cost of £1.4 billion.

Read more from ComputerWeekly.com


No Need for Speed

More criticism has been directed at the government on the subject of High Speed 2, this time by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee. Their new report on the largest infrastructure project in Europe has questioned government assurances that the project is on budget and on schedule.

In January the former chairman of HS2 Ltd indicated to the Committee that costs were spiralling out of control, but the Department for Transport denies that this is the case. The report highlighted the risk that any significant cost overruns on Phase 1 of the project (connecting London with Birmingham by 2027) could result in Phase 2 (completing the route to Manchester and Leeds by 2033) being scaled back or even cancelled completely.

One potential solution to the danger of spiralling budgets put forward in the report is to lower the speed of the trains – currently planned to be over 200 miles per hour at maximum velocity – which would help to simplify the construction phase.

Read more from The Independent

Read the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report


No Nationalised Grid

The Labour Party has proposed the nationalisation of National Grid with the stated aim of starting a “Green Industrial Revolution” that would simultaneously lower fuel bills, stimulate economic activity, and combat climate change.

Against the backdrop of global climate protests, they are also proposing a large-scale solar panel installation programme for social housing stock. However, National Grid itself doesn’t seem too keen on the plan, with chief executive John Pettigrew saying that it would “delay the huge amount of progress” being made in the shift towards sustainable power generation and that the policy is not “in the interests” of customers.

Unsurprisingly, the Conservatives aren’t keen on nationalisation either, with Chris Philp MP saying that Labour has no credible plan as to how to pay for their policy and that “more borrowing and tax hikes would be inevitable”. But will either of these parties have enough seats to have a say either way come the next general election? It may be up to Nigel…

Read more from BBC News


Top tenders

Prior Information Notice from NHS Supply Chain for Cardiology, Radiology, Vascular and Endoscopy Products worth between £400 – £800 million

Framework Agreement from LGSS / Cambridgeshire County Council for Archaeological Fieldworks worth between £4 – £6 million

Dynamic Purchasing System from the Construction Industry Training Board for endpoint assessment services worth £12 million

 

 Thoughts or questions? Leave a comment!

Social Value Update

Social Value Update

Social value has gained more and more prominence in public procurement in recent years and moves are now underway to further prioritise and standardise these requirements.

Following the government’s decision to obligate central government organisations to take account of social value in procurement as of this summer, the Cabinet Office is holding a consultation on proposals for a new evaluation model that finishes on the 10th June.

It is open to interested suppliers, public sector buyers, and any other stakeholders in public procurement. Follow the link above to have your say.

What is changing?

Central government departments will be required to take account of social value in the award criteria of above-threshold contracts, with the proposed evaluation model providing for a minimum weighting of 10%.

A variety of themes and policy outcomes are outlined in the new model but purchasing organisations will retain freedom over how and when to apply them based on the subject matter of any given procurement and their own commissioning priorities.

There will be a standard set of questions and evaluation criteria for each of the policy areas outlined in the new model, along with a scoring methodology similar to that already used to gauge quality in tender submissions.

Why the consultation?

Sub-central and third sector bodies and their suppliers have been the main drivers of innovation in terms of social value up to this point, so input from experienced stakeholders will help to determine if the proposed model is workable.

Improving SME access to public contracts is also a major policy area and some of the key feedback requested in the consultation is focused on whether or not the new model helps or hinders the government’s objective of “levelling the playing field” for suppliers.

The questions posed in the consultation are:

  • Do you agree with the proposed policy metrics in the model in the attached annex? Do you have examples of such metrics being successfully used in public procurement?
  • Do you agree that the proposed minimum 10% weighting for evaluating social value in the bid is appropriate?
  • Does the proposed approach risk creating any barriers to particular sizes or types of bidders, including SMEs or VCSEs? How might these risks be mitigated?
  • How can we ensure government’s existing procurement policy mandates (for example on levelling the playing field for SMEs) take precedence in designing the procurement?

Want to know more?

If you’re a supplier in need of advice on how best to approach the social value aspects of your public sector bids  – or a buyer looking for guidance on how to evaluate social value in procurement exercises – we’re ready to help. Visit our consultancy page or call 0800 222 9009.

Questions? Leave a comment! 

Public Contracts Roundup

Contracts Roundup

What’s new and noteworthy over the last couple of weeks in the exciting world of public procurement?

Simply the best

There’s some pleasing news for the UK civil service in a new report from Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government. The International Civil Service Effectiveness Index ranks countries based on a variety of functions such as policymaking, financial management and transparency.

Out of the 38 countries included in the rankings the UK has taken the top spot overall, with New Zealand, Canada, Finland, and Australia completing the top 5. The UK came out on top in the policymaking as well as financial and HR management categories and third in terms of procurement effectiveness after New Zealand and Denmark.

Procurement as a standalone indicator was introduced in this year’s survey and New Zealand scored highest in the category primarily due to e-procurement effectiveness and SME access to public contracts. One area where the UK didn’t do so well was in the digital services category, ranking in the bottom third. Read more from Civil Service World.

Rough seas

Some bad news for the public purse – and ammunition for critics of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling – as the infamous Brexit ferry saga took another unfortunate twist.

Following the cancellation of the contract signed with Seaborne Freight, the remaining contracts with Brittany Ferries and DFDS have been terminated at an expected cost of over £50 million now that the threat of a no-deal Brexit has receded.

This comes after the government paid out £33 million to Eurotunnel following a challenge to the procurement process. Now shipping giant P&O is taking legal action over this payment, arguing that it constitutes illegal state aid and gives their competitor an unfair advantage.

Mr Grayling insisted that these contracts were a necessary insurance policy and highlighted that they were only a small fraction of overall no-deal Brexit preparations. Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald was a little less relaxed about it, saying “Chris Grayling and the ferry contracts will for evermore be a case study in Ministerial incompetence”.

Chinese whispers

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been fired by Theresa May for allegedly being the source of a leak about the involvement of the Chinese telecoms provider Huawei in the development of the UK’s 5G mobile network. Following a showdown in the Prime Minister’s office Mr Williamson protested his innocence and likened his sacking to a “kangaroo court”.

The concerns over Huawei relate to its’s ties with the Chinese government and the possibility that new network infrastructure could be exploited for the purposes of espionage or cyberwarfare.

Many in the defence and intelligence community have warned of the risks and the potential damage to the intelligence-sharing agreement between the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand known as the “Five Eyes”.

The development of 5G is an international effort driven by a mix of direct public funding, private investment, and Public Private Partnerships. The level of opportunity for ICT businesses over the next few years will be huge, whether it be formal contract work or access to targeted funding opportunities such as this current competition.

Top tenders

The months following the turn of the financial year are always the busiest for public sector purchasing as new budgets come into play and annual plans are implemented. Some notable recent notices:

Framework Agreement from NHS Shared Business Services worth £100 million for design services, furniture and appliances

Dynamic Purchasing System from Bolton Council worth over £1million for a variety of event supplies and services

Prior Information Notice from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime worth £1.7 million for services to support young victims of violent crime in London’s A&Es.

 Thoughts or questions? Leave a comment!

The engine room of Tenders Direct

Reviewers

Meet our Review Team: (from left to right) Carol Davidson, Kirsty Macdonald-Ross, Ewan MacAskill and Cameron Masson.

They provide something truly unique in our market: they read, analyse and categorise every english-language contract published in the Official Journal of the European Union as well as every below-threshold notice from across the UK and Ireland.

Their efforts serve to simplify the convoluted public sector marketplace, giving suppliers fast and easy access to suitable contracts and peace of mind that opportunities won’t pass them by.

Why do our keyword categories and review process matter?

Ewan

“We use our own unique category system to classify every tender that we send to our customers. This provides a greater level of accuracy than the standard CPV codes. It is the review team’s responsibility to apply the most appropriate categories to each tender.

“We do this for two main reasons: Firstly, to reduce the amount of tenders customers might receive that are not relevant to their business. More importantly, to ensure that customers do not miss out on potential tender opportunities.”

Kirsty

“Our bespoke category system and review process are the backbone of our service – they differentiate us from our competitors who use CPV codes and individual keywords.

“So for every notice that we read and review each day, we know that we’re providing the best possible service for our customers by helping them to quickly find what they need without wading through irrelevant information.”

Cameron

“We review hundreds of tenders each day, saving time and money for customers who may spend hours every week trawling through lists of tender notices that are not relevant to their business.

“We’re always looking for ways to stay up to date with advancements in technology and sector terminology. We continuously update our category system to ensure it stays relevant to today’s market and generates accurate alerts for our customer base.”

Carol

“Between us we read through hundreds of notices each day to make sure they are correctly categorised – this is a time-consuming and difficult task but thousands of companies appreciate what we do!

“Many of the contracts we see have unusual or vague descriptions. It is vital that we investigate these further to understand exactly what the contracts entail so our customers don’t miss opportunities.”

Queries? Leave a comment or find out more about our solutions for suppliers here.

 

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