Christmas time…tendering time (or just mistletoe and wine!)

Public sector tendering probably isn’t the first thought that springs to mind when you’re off to see the Christmas lights switch on while sipping on your mulled wine. Many of us will have finished our Christmas shopping by now…right? What a hopeful thought! Although it might not be in our second nature to be super prepared for Christmas (not to say some of us aren’t) – local authorities across the UK are already preparing for future Christmas’ with the issue of public sector notices. It may not seem logical for us to start writing our Christmas wish list for the next few years but it certainly should be the norm for local SMEs to be considering their preparation to search and respond to tender for future fulfilment in 2016, 2017, and 2018 and possibly beyond.

Our Tenders Direct team searched for the term ‘Christmas’ on our comprehensive database, and, recent figures show a rise of 28% in public sector notices supplying Christmas related services, requirements and products between October 2013 – November 2015.

We have noticed in particular that the increasingly popular Winter Wonderland Market Events have contributed to the rising volume of Christmas related tenders in the country. As these events dominate numerous cities across the UK, tenders released will range from councils in Oxford to Derbyshire, Southampton to Glasgow, Dublin and Cork seeking for services including: erection and installation of event infrastructure, outdoor event management, stewards, CCTV, crowd management, event planners, set and design, supply of funfairs, Christmas light switch on performances and festive catering. Continue reading “Christmas time…tendering time (or just mistletoe and wine!)”

Pet Hates of Suppliers (What not to do if you are a buyer)

A few months ago my colleague Cindy published a blog on the Pet Hates of Buyers which went through some of the main issues that buyers have had when dealing with suppliers. This blog will consider the other side of the coin and cover some of the pet hates that suppliers have when bidding for tenders.

Through my experience working in the Tenders Direct support team I have put together this blog from feedback that we have received from our customers and other external companies that are involved in public sector tendering.

The issues can be broken down into two main areas. Firstly all issues relating to the tendering process (planning, identifying the needs, market analysis and tendering) and secondly all issues that relate to the post tender activities (contract management, supplier relationship management and the actual performance of the contract). Continue reading “Pet Hates of Suppliers (What not to do if you are a buyer)”

The 2015 Regulations on the aggregation of contracts and the use of Lots

The aggregation of contracts refers to the grouping together of similar contracts. The requirement to aggregate contracts is not a new obligation however has been the subject of much confusion in the past. This blog post will aim to clarify when requirements are to be aggregated for the purpose of calculating the value of a contract and, more importantly, when specific Lots can be exempt from the rules. Continue reading “The 2015 Regulations on the aggregation of contracts and the use of Lots”

Remember Remember Your Tenders in November!

Alone with his thoughts in the dank cellar below the House of Lords, Guy Fawkes imagined the display of pageantry that would occur above him when King James I arrived later that day for the State Opening of Parliament. This war veteran from Yorkshire, however, had a very different spectacle in mind: the detonation of 36 barrels of gunpowder directly beneath the King’s feet. With James dead, Fawkes and his fellow conspirators hoped to instigate a popular uprising and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. He just had to remain undiscovered for a few more hours…

A noise… his heart skipped a beat. Footsteps!

It’s fascinating to think that the actions of a few individuals in the distant past can continue to influence our lives centuries later. In his moments of introspection in the cellar, Guy Fawkes probably didn’t imagine that his effigy would be burned as part of a widely recognised annual cultural event over four hundred years after his death; he surely wouldn’t have had the remotest idea that an extensive publicly funded supply chain would be required to make it happen!

Continue reading “Remember Remember Your Tenders in November!”

Tendering across Europe – How to step out of the UK

With £714 billion being spent on the public sector in the UK in 2014 you may feel that there is plenty of business to go around. However, if you are considering broadening your options or want to look further afield you could consider bidding for tenders across the European Union.

The European Union was created on the basis of it being a single market which includes the free movement of goods, capital, people and services across all member states. In practice this means that a UK company should have an equal chance of winning a tender in a different EU member state as the local companies and there should be no barrier to intra-EU trade. We often hear of dissatisfaction that local contracts in the UK have been awarded to non-local suppliers and so this could be considered the other side of that coin.

While it may seem like it is easy to go for these types of opportunities there are certain things that need to be considered before taking the leap! All the points made by my colleague Gemma on this blog: How SMEs can break into the public sector will apply but there will be other aspects that will need to be considered as well.

Continue reading “Tendering across Europe – How to step out of the UK”

Introduction to new bloggers – your ideas welcome!

I’d like to introduce two new bloggers to the Tenders Direct blog. I’m Duncan Dallas and I am the Government Contracts Manager at Millstream. I am responsible for the national public procurement advertising portals that we operate – Sell2Wales and Public Contracts Scotland. As both buyers and suppliers use these portals I’m interested in both sides of the procurement process and particularly in improving the communication between the two. Outside of work I’m a music and football obsessive.

John Cutt has also joined the blogging team. John is one of the Tender Reviewers for Tenders Direct. A large part of John’s role is to review every single notice that is processed through the Tenders Direct service to ensure that it is allocated the correct categories and reaches the right clients. John is our resident Trekkie and has an interest in military history (on earth and in space).

Now that the introductions are over we’d like to hear from our readership on what procurement related topics you’d like to see this blog cover. This isn’t to suggest that we’re running dry of ideas – we have an exciting schedule coming up – it’s just that we’d like to have input from you. Is there anything specific you’d like us to inform on? Are there any clarifications relating to the new procurement regulations required? Please leave a message below!

Maintained Schools and Academies – Exemptions from the Public Contracts Regulations 2015

One of the main drivers of change in the Public Contracts Regulations of 2015 was to create a more open playing field for SMEs. This was brought about through a number of initiatives including the advertising of opportunities on Contracts Finder and improved payment terms for invoices.

It seems strange then that a part of the public sector should be made exempt from these requirements, namely maintained schools and academies especially considering that they are prime customers for small local businesses.

Continue reading “Maintained Schools and Academies – Exemptions from the Public Contracts Regulations 2015”

The 2015 Regulations on Electronic Submission of Tenders

As discussed in my previous blog post, the new 2015 Regulations have brought in new requirements surrounding the issuing of procurement documents electronically. In addition to this the new Regulations have also brought in incentives for contracting authorities to require electronic submission of tenders. Under the EU rules this will also need to be made mandatory by the UK Government in the next few years. This blog post will focus on what the new rules currently say and what the future may hold. Continue reading “The 2015 Regulations on Electronic Submission of Tenders”

Millstream Associates announce 14% rise in UK-wide Construction tenders

The North East of England is to benefit from new public sector business opportunities in the construction industry as leading e-tender service provider Millstream Associates attends local event.

Millstream Associates will be showcasing their flagship product Tenders Direct, at Constructionline’s North East Meet the Buyer event in Sedgefield, on Thursday 10th September 2015.

The construction industry accounts for 6.1% of the total economic output in the UK, worth £103bn and resulting in 2.10million jobs in 2014. The industry has experienced fluctuations in growth since the recession, but from 2013 Continue reading “Millstream Associates announce 14% rise in UK-wide Construction tenders”

Self reporting requirements entering into force from 1st September 2015

In April I posted a blog about the ban on PQQs and restrictions that have been put in place for the use of supplier questionnaires. This made it clear that when a contracting authority is deviating from the rules and the guidance issued, they would be expected to self report to the Crown Commercial Service.

These self reporting requirements are now coming into force on 1st of September 2015, so as a reminder this blog will highlight what are considered to be deviations and how you can report this.

Continue reading “Self reporting requirements entering into force from 1st September 2015”

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