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!”
A lot of potential suppliers to the public sector are put off by the amount of work it takes to become tender ready and what seems to be a chicken and egg situation where you need references to pass the PQQ (selection) stage but can’t get references until you win a contract!
The changes to the procurement regulations this year have made in roads to this situation with the abolition of PQQs for below threshold contracts and the removal of the burden of proof for above threshold contracts but there are a number of steps SMEs (and all organisations new to public sector tendering) can take to get a foot in the door and start supplying to the public sector. Continue reading “Little fish in a bid pond? How SMEs can break into public sector procurement.”
Following on from our recent blog regarding the changes to the PQQ stage in the new 2015 Procurement Regulations we are going to look at what has changed at the ITT stage and what suppliers need to be aware of when tendering to the public sector.
The most important changes to the ITT stage for suppliers are:
1) There is now greater clarity regarding the rules on social and environmental aspects being taken into account in tenders meaning that:
- social aspects can now also be taken into account in certain circumstances (in addition to environmental aspects which have previously been allowed);
- contracting authorities can require certification/labels or other equivalent evidence of social/environmental characteristics, further facilitating procurement of contracts with social/environmental objectives;
- contracting authorities can refer to factors directly linked to the production process.
The caveat to this is that any factors taken into account must be reasonably achievable for all suppliers so as not to favour larger companies or specific methodologies. We would encourage suppliers to keep a check on your key buyers to see what policies they have in these areas and how they are likely to implement these new rules. For example do they have a big drive on apprenticeships or carbon emissions you could support them on? In general it would be a good idea to start gathering data, case studies and evidence of your company’s positive social and environmental impacts to use in your responses going forward as the level of detail asked for in these questions is only going to increase.
2) Full life-cycle costing can be taken into account when awarding contracts; this could encourage more sustainable and/or better value procurement which will hopefully save money for tax payers in the long term. Continue reading “2015 Procurement Regulations – Changes to the ITT stage – What Suppliers Need to Know.”
Public sector tendering opportunities are a valuable way to secure new business, with hundreds of local contracts published every week in every sector, from healthcare and IT to construction and transport.
Many local authorities, NHS trusts and government departments now handle procurement electronically to save money and time as well as ensuring compliance with the latest regulations.
It is therefore vital for businesses to ensure they do not miss out on any potential opportunities in their own local area, throughout the UK or mainland Europe, according to Tim Williams, managing director of electronic tendering specialist Millstream, which runs the Tenders Direct and myTenders websites.
Tim Williams, MD at Millstream Associates
“The days of the printed version of the Official Journal of European Union are long gone and there is no effective way to keep track of all the opportunities without using an online system, particularly in today’s fast-paced world of business,” said Tim, whose company recently won a contract to run the national procurement portal for the Welsh Government.
“Procurement processes will all be conducted entirely online in the near future and the Government’s target is for procurement to be completely electronic by 2016, so it’s vital that companies make sure they don’t miss anything.
“We aim to make it as easy as possible for purchasers in the public sector to advertise their tenders and to help small and medium sized companies to identify new business opportunities and crucially, to give them the best chance of winning that work.”
Tenders Direct was established by Tim in 1992, to make it easy for subscribers to find information on public contracts.
Continue reading “No way to keep track of business opportunities without online system, Millstream warns”
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?!
Continue reading “The Mystery Behind Part B Services”
Hands up who has heard of the Contract Award Notice (shortened to CAN for those with a particular love for procurement and tendering jargon like us)?
If you have heard of it, then you will know that the CAN is the official notification which must be published in OJEU by the contracting authority AFTER the contract has been awarded. It details the name of the winning bidder, duration of the contract and the value (if the authority has played ball and included that).
When you receive your tender alert emails, remember to look at the document type in the top left hand corner first to check what kind of notification you are dealing with. You don’t want to go asking the authority for contract documents for an opportunity which has already been awarded! The different notice types are automatically organised into separate folders on Tenders Direct to avoid any confusion.
Whether you have or haven’t heard of the CAN, you might be wondering at this point how it can be of any relevance to you unless it has your name down as the winning bidder!?
Well don’t dismiss the CAN straight away as it does have its uses.
Continue reading “Just what can you do with a CAN?”
Recommendations first outlined in the Glover Report to help small businesses identify contract opportunities are now coming to fruition.
The Glover Report – Accelerating the SME Economic Engine states…
“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.
Continue reading “Flying the Flag for Small Businesses”
Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without talking about the other.
Today’s technology is high-speed and merciless; if you miss even one of the latest trends, you’ve practically fallen off the face of the earth. As purchasers move more and more into eProcurement and eTendering, are the suppliers, particularly SME’s feeling left behind?
Do not let eTendering pass you by! Keep reading and have a quick look at my checklist to help you with future eTenders… MORE
I’m a bit late with this blog post, what with Christmas and New Year and then all the snow, but better late than never.
On January 1st 2010 new financial thresholds, which govern whether or not a contract must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), came into force. There’s often a lot of confusion about these thresholds, so I’ll try and explain a bit of the background as well as the actual values of the new thresholds.
Continue reading “Financial thresholds for contracts published in the Official Journal (OJEU)”
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.
Continue reading “Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU)”