“Where do you start?”
That’s a question that often gets asked by people new to public procurement, whether buyers or suppliers.
And it’s a good question. Indeed, it isn’t relevant just to those new to the marketplace, even those currently familiar with public procurement are asking the same questions.
Public procurement has never had a higher profile as the public sector strives to reduce the deficit while protecting frontline services.
The realisation of the savings that can be achieved from well run procurement exercises has seen the importance of the role elevated to levels past buyers and suppliers could never have imagined.
The regulations that govern public sector procurement activity and which set out the various procurement procedures, the requirement for buyers to ensure effective transparency in low-value procurement exercises, and for suppliers to understand the essential elements that need to be considered when bidding for tenders are changing.
From the buyer perspective, it is important to ensure that any individual assigned the responsibility of contracting with the private sector or even with another public body has the necessary skills and knowledge to perform this duty compliantly, in order to safeguard the contracting authority and ensure value for money for the public purse.
It is therefore essential that those responsible for public sector procurement have the correct skills and knowledge to complete the process compliantly to protect their organisation from challenge.
Likewise, it is critically important for suppliers to understand how the changes in procurement affect them and the tender processes they are competing in.
For private sector organisations, understanding the procurement process and what buyers are looking for is essential in ensuring success through compliant bids that drive efficiency within the public sector.
So where do you start?
Gaining an understanding of the rules is a requisite in procurement.
Buyers and suppliers need to understand the structure of the procurement process, the minimum timescales required, the procedures which govern those timescales, the processes that go alongside them, including framework agreements, selection and award criteria, the evaluation process and the standstill process.
Without an understanding of these issues, and many more besides, the risk is too high and failure is a distinct possibility.
However, failure in the public procurement arena is a very costly business, with the risk of legal challenge always in the background.
Public procurement of all values are subject to regulatory control, not only through the Public Contracts Regulations, but also through case law and government guidance.
Another phrase comes to mind, “That’s how we’ve always done it.”
This statement is just as dangerous as “Where do you start?”
Someone who follows old, out dated processes runs the same risk as those who know nothing.
The rules in procurement change all the time, in part through legislation and in part through legal judgements.
The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, the new EU Public Procurement Directive 2014, the forthcoming UK Public Procurement Regulations – change is unrelenting and failure to keep up to date with it is hugely risky.
So, getting back to the original question, just where do you start?
By learning the basics and not just if you are new to procurement, but even if it’s been a while since you last updated your knowledge, relearning those basic processes can often be essential.
How can Delta eSourcing help?
Ideally, each project would have a tender manager whose job it would be to track progress, ensuring all the documentation was being saved and competitors’ questions were being answered promptly.
Delta provides a central, secure, online solution that simplifies and automates many of the time-consuming processes involved in creating and issuing calls for competition and managing tender responses.
Delta’s rich functionality covers all aspects of the eTendering process from commissioning, notice creation, pre-qualification and issuing of invitations to tenders to evaluation of responses and award of contract and even contract management.
Having this comprehensive solution allows you to significantly reduce both the processing cost of procurement and the timescales for tenders above the OJEU procurement thresholds.
Delta eSourcing offers a range of procurement software and is committed to helping public sector organisations make efficiency savings to improve their procurement processes. Our procurement services offers you the flexibility to create a bespoke procurement package for your organisation. You can choose from a range of eTendering services including:
An easy-to-use, secure EU-compliant tender management tool covering all stages of the tendering process from notice creation to award of contract, including EOIs, RFIs, SQs, secure exchange of ITT documents and evaluation.
Access a ready-made supplier community to engage, identify, assess and qualify suppliers through online supply chain management activities.
Contract Management Software
Contract Register – A central repository to manage and monitor performance, key activities, reporting of contracts, the call-off from framework agreements and spend analysis.
Contract Change Control – Value tracking of all contracts within your organisation’s Contract Register. This will help buyers to comply with PCR 2015 ‘Life-Cycle Costing’, by giving them full control over the cost and time implications for their contracts.
Contract Performance – The Contract Performance Module allows buyers to track their contracts, score suppliers against KPIs and review contracts at set intervals.
Branded Buyer Portal
Your organisation’s branded EU-compliant buyer profile promoting your procurement-related information with automated publication of all contract notices and awards. Allowing a bespoke alert system set up for your supplier base.
Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) Manager
Delta’s Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) Manager module allows buyers to procure goods, works or services commonly available on the market quickly and efficiently from a refreshable pool of suppliers.
Bring all of your projects and collaborations together and easily manage your collaborative procurement.
Quick Call is an addition to the web-based, modular Delta eSourcing service and provides additional functionality within the Contract Manager module. Buyers can easily issue a Quick Call from an existing framework or request a quote from selected suppliers in a Contract List.
A reverse auction tool compliant with EU Regulations which can be used as a stand-alone service or as an extension of your tender exercise.