Tag: procurement

Supreme Court overturns procurement case

Supreme Court logo

The Supreme Court yesterday (9th February 2011) delivered a landmark judgement in the first procurement case to reach the court, overturning previous decisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Supreme Court logo

The economic downturn and the massive cuts in funding for local authorities which are now beginning to flow through will increasingly require councils to look for new and innovative ways to deliver services. In February 2007, the London Borough of Brent invited tenders in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, (the Procurement Regulations), for the provision of insurance. The company Risk Management Partners (RMP) submitted a tender, but was informed on 7 March 2007 that Brent had decided to award the contract to London Authorities Mutual Limited (LAML) which had not taken part in the competition. LAML was formed by a group of local authorities to provide insurance to the member authorities. Brent became a member of, and helped to fund, LAML, a guaranteed indemnity mutual insurance company. There was an expected saving of 15 to 20 per cent in comparison with external insurance.

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The Mystery Behind Part B Services

When I was working in customer services for Tenders Direct I was always getting asked about the loophole that is Part B Services. Whispers of a tender due to come out any day now, companies waiting patiently and BANG, before they know it, the Tender has been awarded to John Doe Ltd down the road. How does this happen, where was the tender published and why do some tenders disappear into a black hole of EU Laws?!

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Changes to EU Procurement Rules have raised costs and hampered effective purchasing

A survey by the Local Government Association published this week has revealed.  Although only a small pool, the result is interesting as it makes you wonder if this is a common trend across government. Only 36% of respondents believe that the EU Remedies Directive has led to more efficient and effective procurement practices.

The Remedies Directive aims to strengthen the hand of losing suppliers to challenge contracts under the OJEU. It highlights steps suppliers can take to challenge the award of a public contract. A key change is the remedy of “ineffectiveness” which gives courts the powers to scrap a contract in particular circumstances including,  if it has not been advertised, the “standstill” period has been ignored or if the rules governing a framework agreement have been broken.

Modernisation of the European Public Procurement Market

European map with EU stars

Public procurement accounts for roughly 17% of the European Union’s GDP. In times of tight budgets and economic difficulties in many Member States, public procurement policy must ensure the most efficient use of public funds, with a view to supporting growth and job creation. This would require flexible and user-friendly tools that make transparentEuropean map with EU stars and competitive contract awards as easy as possible for European public authorities and their suppliers. With these objectives in mind, the European Commission has  launched a consultation which will focus on the modernisation of the rules, tools and methods for public procurement. The deadline for responses to the Green Paper is 18 April 2011.

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Solar Power Tenders – Summer Must be on It’s Way!

Did you know: 1 University, 2 Housing Associations and 3 Councils are installing up to 15k Solar Panels over the next 3 years. And that is just the tenders for one week! Someone out there must be predicting a scorcher this summer!

It is so nice to see the Public Sector looking for alternative means of energy, after all it was in 1997 (Kyoto Protocol) the UK Government promised to reduce greenhouse gases by 12.5% by 2008 to 2012. Last year the UK Government vowed its ‘greenest year ever’ and promised central government would reduce its carbon emissions by 10% within 12 months  60.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases are created by the UK each year and the Public Sector is only responsible for 3%. That is any easy enough target to reduce, only 5.7 million tonnes!

See tips for suppliers after the jump…..>

The launch of specifications for sustainable procurement and collaborative working offers a powerful strategic weapon for purchasers and suppliers

The launch of specifications for sustainable procurement and collaborative working offers a powerful tool for suppliers and purchasers.   Lord Jones, former director-general of the CBI, believes they should form part of any organisation’s strategic weaponry. UK businesses operate in a highly competitive global environment where agility, efficiency and innovation are the watchwords of success and standardisation weaponry.

Suppliers that comply with standards often have a competitive advantage as buyers will often use compliance to choose between comparable suppliers. Standardisation also promotes interoperability along the supply chain and provides the competitive edge that is necessary for effective worldwide trading.

BS 8903:2010 launched in Summer 2010 set out the principles and framework for sustainable procurement and also provides practical advice on the implementation of the framework practices. It has been developed by participants drawn from many sources including the private sector, pressure groups and the public sector.

BS 1100-1:2010, published October 2010, was developed with input from many industries and its longer term objective is to move to an ISO standard. It provides a strategic framework to improve collaborative relationships and explores partner selection, working together, value creation and relationship maturity.

With an increasing emphasis from buyers on this area, it is the wise supplier that will educate themselves on these standards to give themselves the competitive edge, that Lord Digby refers to.

Avoiding Risky Business

I recently attended our latest training courses on completing PQQs and Bid Writing. One of the messages I picked up was that the public sectors’ evaluation of suppliers is a lot like a risk assessment exercise.  Public sector authorities have to be scrupulous when spending tax-payers’ money.  They have to balance various priorities, including quality, budget, delivery, timescales, policies on equality, sustainability, supporting SMES and local businesses, and abiding by the relevant regulations, while also avoiding the risk of anything going wrong during the course of the contract.

So, as a supplier going through the tendering process, your task is not only to demonstrate to the purchasing authority that you can provide the requirement (and more if possible), but also that you can mitigate any risks that might be involved.

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Public contracts after the General Election

UK Party Leaders

Despite the three election debates, none of us are any the wiser precisely how the next Government will cut expenditure in order to pay off the financial deficit. We know that change is (hopefully) coming that will reduce the size of ‘Big Government’ and while change often brings threats, it also brings opportunities.

UK Party Leaders

UK Party Leaders

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Don’t Judge a Tender by its Title

Is it your job to find that golden opportunity hidden amongst hundreds of vaguely related tender notices?  How many tenders do you dismiss on title alone?  Well, you might just be missing some valuable business opportunities.

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How well do you know your buyer?

If you’re looking for new markets and have stumbled upon the public sector option – do not be misled into thinking it will be exactly the same as selling to a private sector client.

The private sector purchaser can largely suit themselves when it comes to what they buy, who they buy from and how much they pay.  But the public sector purchaser has a lot of different factors to take into consideration, not least that they are spending public money and have to comply with set processes and legislation.

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