You are only as good as your Last Tender

One of the best ways to improve your tender and PQQ (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire) submissions is to learn from the mistakes and merits of your previous efforts.  You can do this by requesting feedback on your performance during the tender process from the awarding authority.

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Keep your eye on the game – Picking a winning Bid Team.

Do you find yourself scrambling with every tender the day before the deadline, frantically gathering your tender documents and cutting and pasting 75% of the tender together? It might be time to put together your Bid Team. Putting together a great tender is more than one person’s job, however in a busy working environment it tends to fall on the laps of busy people who already have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Take a stand! Start your Bid Team today!

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Food Procurement – buy local or buy cheap?

Nick Herbert MP

MP’s have been urging local authorities and other public sector bodies to support local farmers and source their food within the UK. I can only assume this is for contracts under the EU procurement thresholds, otherwise how can public sector bodies award £2 billion worth of food contracts just within the UK? When I initially started this article I agreed, why shouldn’t we get to eat nutritious, carbon friendly, local food? Why shouldn’t the UK get to support their local farmers? It is public money, right? It is not quite that simple, local food may not always be the cheaper or most environmentally friendly option. DEFRA has told us a million times, it is more sustainable to grow and import a tomato from Spain than it is to grow one here in the UK.
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European eGovernment Awards 2009

Angela Smith MP
Angela Smith MP

Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, Angela Smith

We are just making the final preparations for our participation in the European eGovernment Awards 2009, which are being held to coincide with the 5th Ministerial eGovernment Conference in Malmö, Sweden on 19th/20th November.
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Does Size Matter? SMEs in Public Sector Procurement

The public sector is a potentially lucrative source of business, as the UK spends about £222 billion a year on procurement.  There are also certain advantages to working with public sector organisations; they are required by EU law to be transparent and fair in the way they choose suppliers, they are very stable and reputable, and usually make prompt payments.

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Which OJEU contracts should I bid for?

Let’s start with this essential piece of advice:

Do not make the mistake of going after every tender!

It can be appealing to start off on this footing when you see a flood of tender notices coming through, all of which apparently match your business area. But are you remembering how high bidding costs can be and have you really thought about your chances of winning? Companies who bid for everything are not normally the most successful. Bidding on the wrong contract can be a waste of resources if you have no chance of winning so you need to think about things a bit more strategically and start targeting specific opportunities to make the most of your time and resources. Don’t just enter to make up the numbers.

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Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU)

Philippe Lebaube

The Official Journal of the European Union(OJEU) is the gazette of record for the European Union. It has been published in 22 official languages (23 when Irish is required) of the member states, every working day since the Treaty of Nice entered into force on 1 February 2003.  The OJEU superseded the earlier Official Journal of the European Community (OJEC) with the establishment of the European Union.

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Swedish Court Cancels Armoured Vehicle Contract

The European defence market is changing. Where once each nation maintained its own defence industry, this is no longer a viable model as Europe faces enormous pressure from the US, which has the worlds largest defence market. In August this year, a new European Directive (2009/81/EC) on defence and security procurement came into force. The new Directive brings defence procurement more into line with mainstream public procurement. Previously member states were able to avoid openly tendering for even quite mundane items of equipment by invoking Article 296 of the European Treaty and stating that they were for their ‘essential security interests.’

Earlier today the Stockholm County Administrative Court ruled that a €240 million armoured personnel carrier deal with the Finnish arms manufacturer, Patria, had breached Swedish public procurement law. The Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV) has been ordered to repeat the tender process despite awarding the contract to Patria in June.
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Public sector tendering – lost in translation..?

Have you ever come across a tender that looks interesting but you just don’t have a clue what it’s talking about?

Buyers, often with the best intentions, sometimes include terminology that is quite frankly harder to understand than ‘The Theory of Everything’ by Stephen Hawkings. If you’re new to public sector tendering, here’s a simple jargon buster of some of the most commonly used terms that may just save your PC from being thrown out the window…!

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If at first you don’t succeed…

With its wildly different culture, risk adversity, rigid processes and sometimes outright incompetence, is it any wonder that so many suppliers are put off working with the public sector?  Probably not.

So, you should just forget it right? Getting into the public sector market will involve hard work and perseverance.  You will have to spend a bit of time understanding the public sector procurement processes and pick up some new skills.  You will more than likely face frustrations along the way, you might even have to change some of your preconceptions about this elusive market.  Sometimes it’ll seem like it’s just not worth the hassle so you don’t bother pursuing it.

But could it be worth a second look? Is it worth getting your company geared up to do business with the public sector? If you supply a product or service that the public sector demands then here are a few things to inform your decision:

– The UK public procurement market is worth over £175 billion a year;
– Public sector organisations are not going to go out of business any time soon, this means a level of security and certainty that you won’t get with a lot of private sector organisations;
– Public sector clients tend to make prompt payments;
– There’s a high chance of repeat contracts;
– Processes are (largely) open, transparent and fair.

Now, if you’ve had a negative experience with a public sector buying organisation, you might well disagree with this last point.  However, the first thing you need to remember is that no two public sector purchasers are the same.  This can be a difficult thing to get a handle on to start with. On opposite sides of the spectrum you could have one organisation keen on innovation, communication and strategic partnerships and another still firmly operating in the master and servant mindset.  It is up to you to do some digging, find out what’s what, then decide which organisations you want to work with.  Tricky, but worth it perhaps?

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