Procurement News – Europe

Cabinet Office consults on how to use powers to change public procurement rules to aid SMEs

October 28 in Daily News by eisc No Comments

The Cabinet Office has launched a consultation (9-page / 291KB PDF) to gather views on how best to use new powers it is set to be given under proposed new legislation. Under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment (SBEE) Bill, the Cabinet Office would be handed the power to set new rules for public bodies on procurement issues.
The Cabinet Office has said it could use this power to impose new requirements on public sector bodies to “exercise procurement functions in an efficient and timely manner”. The imposition of a further duty to “make available, free of charge, information or documents, or processes necessary for any potential supplier to bid for a contract opportunity” is also being considered.
It said that it will require public bodies to accept electronic invoices (e-invoices) under the reforms.
Among the plans being considered for public procurement streamlining is a plan to set a time limit of 120 working days for public bodies to complete “all but the most complex procurements”. Central government departments are already subject to a set of principles where this time limit applies.
A time limit for responding to invitations to tender could also be imposed for low value public contracts that fall below the thresholds set out in new EU Public Procurement rules, according to the Cabinet Office’s consultation paper.
Stakeholders have been asked to “identify specific areas of the procurement life cycle”, such as “pre-market engagement, commercial strategy, sourcing, tender evaluation, [and] contract management”, where improvements could be made by public sector bodies. Further views are sought on whether greater disclosure of public bodies’ commercial contracts with suppliers would “help deliver efficient and timely procurement processes across the public sector”.
New EU rules on e–invoicing in public procurement wee finalised earlier this year. The Cabinet Office said will mandate e-invoicing for public sector contracts but has called for views on what “key points” must be addressed if “an efficient electronic invoicing system” for public sector organisations and suppliers is to be delivered.
It also asked stakeholders to outline what they think the main barriers to the acceptance of e-invoices by public bodies are and what holds back SMEs from issuing e-invoices in the first place.
“The government wishes to increase take-up of e-invoicing by legislating to ensure that all public authorities are capable of accepting electronic invoices in public procurement, so that there is a more efficient environment for suppliers and improved payment performance,” the consultation said.
The consultation closes on 13 November.

Source: www.out-law.com

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Simpler procurement rules on public tenders of up to €15 million

October 27 in Daily News by eisc No Comments

The finance ministry has raised the threshold for procurement under the ‘three package procedure’ from €4 million to €15 million in a bid to issue calls for higher value tenders.
The new legal notice amends the threshold applicable for the implementation of the Three Package procedure, as part of the government’s commitment to reduce red tape and maximise the efficiency of the public service.
The new regulatory amendments will allow calls for tenders up to a value of €15 million, excluding VAT.
This will mean that the tenders which have an estimated value of less than €15 million net of VAT will have only one appeal stage and only one standstill period.
Under the three-package system, tenders shall only qualify for consideration if they are submitted in separate and sealed packages which comprise a bid bond, the technical specifications and supportive literature, and complete price schedules and bills of quantities.
“Concurrently, the government has also enacted other amendments intended to avoid cumbersome procedures in the interest of greater efficiency,” a spokesperson for finance minister Edward Scicluna said when contacted about the new legal amendments
Among these is an amendment that will remove the requirement by tender applicants to manually submit an original bid-bond, and enable them to submit tender offers – including bid-bonds – completely electronically.
“This amendment is aimed at reducing the number of bids that are disqualified for minor issues, such as not manually submitting a manual copy of the bid-bond despite having submitted the same document electronically. These changes are expected to bring about a reduction of 20 days in the current average period required for the award of a tender.

Source: www.maltatoday.com.mt

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Why SMEs need a slice of the action – Telegraph

October 23 in Daily News by eisc No Comments

When Suffolk software company i2N started pitching for government contracts, it was an uphill struggle to get anyone in the civil service to notice their existence. In the past couple of years, however, their fortunes have been transformed with G-cloud, an online IT procurement framework which enables small firms to compete on an equal footing with large firms when bidding for work.
I2N has so far supplied both the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, helping to push turnover from £500,000 in 2011 to £3.5m today.
Ian Glen, i2N’s commercial manager, says: “G-cloud has been transformational in terms of opening up contract opportunities to ourselves and other SMEs. We now have the confidence to increase our levels of investment back into the business, to hire more staff, and to plan to bring more products and services to the marketplace.”
G-cloud is one of several measures the Government hopes will help it achieve its target of 25pc of central government procurement going to SMEs by 2015. In 2010, the figure was just 6.5pc. It is also abolishing pre-qualification questionnaires for low-value contracts, a stumbling block to SME involvement, and launching an improved version of its Contract Finder website, listing all public sector contracts over £10,000. It has introduced a “mystery shopper” service so firms can challenge poor procurement practice.
It is an impressive start. Simon Clark, at Fidelity Growth Partners, says: “I give this Government a lot of credit. It has done a lot to encourage smaller companies to think about government as a good buyer. G-cloud could be a model for governments around the world.”
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Opening up procurement not only helps SMEs get secure long-term work, it also provides the Government with access to innovation, often at a lower cost than big multinationals can deliver.
It is early days, though, and a lot can still go wrong. For a start, success has been mostly confined to IT contracts. Then there is the challenge of adapting a system where large firms spend millions on securing contracts, to one which is more workable for SMEs. Earlier this year, Buddi, a firm with 25 employees, reluctantly withdrew from bidding for a multimillion-pound Ministry of Justice contract to tag offenders. Despite spending two years and £2m pitching for it, the company failed to reach a workable commercial agreement.
Buddi’s founder, Sara Murray, who described the process as unproductive and frustrating, says she has received hundreds of letters from other small firms in the same situation. She said: “We would love to work for the Government. But I’d actively discourage an SME to go through the process we went through because we halved our growth for that period, as all our resources got sucked into bidding for the Ministry of Justice contract.”
Third, as everyone involved has discovered, welcoming SMEs is not just about changing the process, it is about changing the culture. This will become increasingly difficult as the reforms are extended beyond central government to the wider public sector.
Stephen Allott, the Crown representative for SMEs in government, says: “There is a huge amount of work to do to win the hearts and minds of the core civil service who have been used to buying from big suppliers for years and years. We are pioneering the heresy that sometimes small can be beautiful.”
There are also external pressures such as calls by the Labour Party to ban SMEs from contracts unless they pay employees the living wage, and the uncertainty of a general election. Graeme Fisher, of the Federation of Small Businesses, says: “There has been progress, we shouldn’t dismiss that. But there is a long way to go.”
Faced with such hurdles, it would be easy for political leaders to push SME procurement off the agenda. But this must not be allowed to happen because despite the challenges, it is a goal worth pursuing.
The public sector spends £230bn a year on procuring goods and services. For an SME, securing a contract with a government department or local authority could be transformative. For the SME sector as whole, it could be electrifying. Yes, genuinely opening up public sector procurement to SMEs will be far harder and take far longer than anyone imagines. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
Rachel Bridge is an author, public speaker and journalist specialising in entrepreneurship and SMEs.

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

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SUPPLY Lincolnshire’s Announces Free Workshops To Improve SME Procurement Practices

October 20 in Daily News by eisc No Comments

A county council-led programme designed to help small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Lincoln, Boston and East Lindsey become contractors for the county’s largest private and public sector businesses, has announced a series of free workshops scheduled to take place during late October and November 2014.

Created as a way of introducing county companies to SUPPLY Lincolnshire and the free support that is available through the project, the newly announced workshops will focus on a number of topics, ranging from finding and winning customers to enhancing public procurement practices.

Thomas Moore, Project Manager  for SUPPLY Lincolnshire, commented: “Now that we’ve completed our supply chain mapping exercise and have hosted our first Meet the Buyer event, we’re now looking forward to providing a series of workshops to eligible SMEs that are designed to get them ready to win new contracts, not just from private firms, but from public organisations.

“Our hope is that businesses attending will recognise the value of the advice we can provide and decide to join SUPPLY Lincolnshire as a way of securing even more support, including bespoke one-to-one assistance.”

 

SUPPLY Lincolnshire’s series of two workshops include:

Finding & Winning New Customers – 28th October and 29th October, 9am to 1pmThis workshop will take delegates on a journey to defining their products & services, understanding the various types of communication tools, identifying & keeping customers and measuring risks.

 

By the end of the course, delegates will leave equipped with knowledge of various tools and techniques that can be used to create a plan to improve their sales, marketing and overall understanding of the need for company engagement with potential customers.

Training in Public Procurement – 20th November and 25th November, 9am to 1pmFacilitated by the Lincolnshire County Council’s Procurement Lincolnshire team and designed to educate delegates on procurement requirements for council-based contracts, this workshop will provide an overview of procurement in the public sector, advice on how to complete and review Request for Quotation documents, top tips for winning new business and a briefing of the various opportunities and resources available. 

 

Attendees will leave the workshop with a greater understanding of the public procurement process and will be better equipped to win public sector contracts.

All events will take place at Fortuna Business Centre, located on Mareham Road in Horncastle, LN9 6BW. Spaces are limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To book a place for any of these workshops, call 07920 563771 or email thomas.moore@peraconsulting.com. 

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development at LCC, said: “SUPPLY Lincolnshire is all about encouraging local companies to thrive, and a good way of doing that is by helping them discover the opportunities that are right there on their doorstep and providing them with the tools and information to take advantage of these.

“By attending these workshops and meeting SUPPLY Lincolnshire’s expert advisors, SMEs can see first-hand that the project is an extremely useful tool that can help their business gain a competitive edge by becoming part of the county’s supply chain.”

In partnership with Procurement Lincolnshire and the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Lincolnshire County Council successfully secured £251,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to help stimulate the Lincolnshire economy by developing and supporting supply chains within the county’s key sectors. 

In addition to preparing SMEs to win contracts with the county’s largest organisations, SUPPLY Lincolnshire is also focused on connecting smaller Lincolnshire companies with one another to encourage buying and trading locally.

For more information about SUPPLY Lincolnshire, visit www.businesslincolnshire.com/supply or e-mail supply@lincolnshire.gov.uk. 

Read more: http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk/SUPPLY-Lincolnshire-8217-s-Announces-Free/story-23152146-detail/story.html#ixzz3GgIaJWLI ;
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Read more at http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk/SUPPLY-Lincolnshire-8217-s-Announces-Free/story-23152146-detail/story.html#2q3ryEDTFRj7WEZ0.99

Source: www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk

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Innovation Procurement ::  Events

October 20 in Daily News by eisc No Comments

Modernising the public sector and boosting economic growth through Innovation Procurement

Milan, Italy
The European High Level Conference and Networking on pre-commercial procurement (PCP) and public procurement of innovation (PPI) ”Modernising the public sector and boosting economic growth through Innovation Procurement” will be held in Milan (Italy) on 26 – 27 November 2014.

The conference will bring together procurers and stakeholders from the public sphere to network and collaborate on future calls of the research and innovation programme of the European Union (EU), Horizon 2020 (H2020).

A special session on PCP in robotics will be held on 27 November. This session will outline funding opportunities in robotics PCP, present potential project ideas, answer audience questions, and offer networking opportunities for likeminded professionals.

For more information or to register for the event please see the link below:
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/modernizing-the-public-sector-and-boosting-economic-growth-through-innovation-procurement-tickets-13238483661

Source: www.innovation-procurement.org

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