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?!
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.
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 transparent 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recommendations first outlined in the Glover Report to help small businesses identify contract opportunities are now coming to fruition.
“Tendering opportunities thought especially suitable for SMEs or consortia of SMEs should be flagged by the procurer during the advertising process.”
Although this idea has been around for a while, the OGC have recently published a paper entitled Small supplier big opportunity, Flagging your contracts to SMEs which follows on from the Glover Report’s recommendations and outlines the procedure to be adopted by purchasers in highlighting suitable opportunities for SMEs.