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Reform of EU Public Sector Procurement Regulations

Comment 1st July 2010

Private sector business can (and does) just decide that they will go with company x for goods and services.  Unfortunately in the public sector (in its widest sense) this cannot be done as the EU procurement rules kick in.  even for the simplest and most straight forward of procurements it can take approx 4 months to actually get to the point of contract award.  This seems to me to be ridiculaos waste of time and money (4 months salary to buy something that could be bought in less than half that time).

I have no objection to documenting the process of arriving at the decision to buy a particular good or service but why oh why are so many constraints put on making sure that even joe (or jo) bloggs from down the road who is not capable of meeting the criteria has to be included in the tender process out of fairness is beyond me.

 

Perhaps raising the limits so that they are all the same and simplifying the criteria of when the procedures apply is what is needed – something that also takes into account the risks associated with the procurement and set the threshold at a higher level for lower risk could perhaps work – I sure some bright spark in the OGC / Treasury could come up with a simple formula to follow.

Why does this matter?

It costs public sector depts and orgs a huge amount of time and money to run even the simplest of procurements under these regs.  The cost in papaer alone can be staggering if there is a large tender document (stationery and "office" products springs to mind) that have to be sent out to a large number of prospective suppliers.

I did a tender for one central gov dept that was in the very early days of e-procurement.  Not many potential bidders you might think – well think again, there were over 60 and that was through the restricted procedure, there would have been even more and I would ahve been totally swamped if it had been through the open procedure.  It took 6 months to run the competition, which was then effectively obsolete from the inplementation date as the dept then went on to buy a full ERP solution that included a full e-procurement and e-catalogue solution! Better planning would also have helped avoid the probelems of duplication and the costs associated with it.

Raising the threshold and combining it in a formula with the risk factors associtated with the importance of the project to the dept / org would allow higher value / lower risk projects to be bought without the need for the current lenghty process and esure that high risk projects are captured.


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