The current local authority PQQ process is long and onerous and rarely suited to service providers , unless building roads. Every tender that is issued requires the completion of another PQQ and a replication of all the supporting documents. This is excessively burdensome for not only the Voluntary sector organisation concerned but also for the local authority which wastes resources examining yet another PQQ from the same organisation.
Suggestion that a successful PQQ has a one year validity (with the issuing L.A.) which enables the organisation to enter the tender process without the need to continue completing PQQ s. This would free up time and resources for both the charity and local authority.
Many local authorities seem to see the Tender process as the only way of procuring new services, or re commissioning existing ones. Local authorities need to be encouraged to use the full range of procurement tools, including: service level agreements, contracts, grants and competitive quotations.
Tenders often ask for qualifications or standards (which are scored) that are out of reach to many smaller VCS due to cost and over bureaucratic systems. These work to the advantage of larger (National) organisations and the Local Authorities to restrict competition from smaller, locally based organisations. For example IS0 14001 which relates to environmental standards is based primarily on factories and those in manufacturing although it is a tender requirement that scores quite highly. This standard, excluding time spent, completing the process costs around £2,500 to complete with an annual re-audit of £1000. This is too expensive for small groups to engage with.
Surely an option which would be more cost effective would be for local authorities to either adopt their own standard (developed by the VCS) or use the Charities Evaluation Service PQASSO system (Practical Quality assurance System for small organisations).
Why does this idea matter?
To enable voluntary sector organisations to concentrate on service delivery and not waste resources on unnecessary bureaucracy. Through introducing appropriate, proportionate scoring systems making the competition fair and enabling the local VCS to become involved.