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Sustainable Public Procurement Portal in Catalunya

Sustainable Public Procurement Portal in Catalunya | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it

The web portal comprasostenible.net begins its journey

Ecoinstitut has launched the web portal comprasostenible.net, an entry point where Catalan public authorities can find their way to the most relevant resources available to safely implement SPP in the region.

The portal provides responses to the main questions of concern for decision-makers and practitioners for the introduction of socio-environmental concerns in public procurement – such as: if it’s legal, if it’s more expensive, if there are resources and support structures to help in the process, etc.

It does so by providing information and pointing to key resources from relevant organisations. Among others you can find:

Arguments to support SPP at the decission-making level,Useful resources and support structures to implement SPP in al its facets, specially for the introduction of sustainability criteria in tendering processes,Repositories of products and services with socio-environmental attributes to know a bit better the market, orGood examples and practices to learn from others.

Almost all the resources are in Catalan or Spanish to minimise language barriers to SPP, and it will be expanded periodically to cover new and relevant information, materials and examples that appear regularly.

The portal has been developed thanks to the EU-funded project GPP2020 and will be kept up-to-date even after the end of the project as a permanent suport structure.

To reach it, just go to: www.comprasostenible.net  

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Strengthening the Serbian public procurement system

Strengthening the Serbian public procurement system | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
There has been a lot of resentment and uproar among users of the public procurement in Serbia, but the Public Procurement Office has been improving the system, introducing more transparency in the spending of public funds.

Effective public procurement at all levels is a key to the development of both a resilient democracy and a competitive economy in Serbia. The latest EU report on the country’s progress towards the Union has dubbed the area of public procurement as “moderately advanced”. While the report hailed progress in the field, it noted that the capacity of the country’s Public Procurement Office (PPO) needs to be strengthened further and that the national strategy and action plan for upgrading the public procurement system remain to be updated.

It all started in late 2002 under the late PM Zoran Djindjic, when the first Law on public procurement entered into force and the PPO was established as an independent governmental agency. The aim of the institution was to help the establishment of sound procurement procedures and practices, ensuring that public funds are spent in an efficient and transparent way, thus complementing government's overall drive in fighting corruption. 

Mr. Predrag Jovanovic was elected to head the newly formed institution, given his previous experience in the field with NGOs — European Movement and Transparency Serbia. “I still remember that day when I had a paper on founding the Office in my hands, with no office, no stamp or people with me,” Jovanovic recalls. “It was one man in the decentralised system of 10,000 contracting authorities.” So, he started making a team and developing mechanisms to implement the law from the scratch. 

According to Jovanovic, there were two main challenges they have been facing ever since the beginning: the tendency to avoid public tenders and poor administrative capacities of the PPO.

“People were oriented towards either being exempt from the application of the law or to go to a negotiated procedure without public announcement,” say Jovanovic. He is referring to emergency situations, when, under Serbian Public Procurement rules, direct negotiations are allowed. “Many situations have been classified as emergency. But, if you need a new heating system as winter is just around the corner, this cannot be classified as emergency, as we all knew that the winter was coming,” Jovanovic explains.

The Agency found that in 2012, 28 per cent of the total procurement value was contracted in non-competitive, negotiated procedure, while in 2014, this figure dropped to only 5 per cent, which is in line with European standards. In addition to this, open procedure participated with 56 in the total value of procurement in 2012, while in 2014, the share soared to 85 per cent. 

In the Office of 23 people at the moment, the lack of capacities to serve the entire country still remains a problem. Jovanovic says that the number of employees should be increased to 36. There are only two telephone lines for consultancy in the area of public procurement for a whole country. Therefore, one of the main goals of the Office now is to assist to cities, regional centers to upgrade their expertise in public procurement which would enable them to assist other municipalities. This would mean to build and strengthen agencies in local municipalities to deal with public procurements on a competent and professional manner.  “Even if there are hundreds of us sitting in Belgrade, it is not good to have one advisory body on 10,000 contracting authorities. We need to develop more “centers of excellences” through Serbia,” Jovanovic noted. He expressed his hope that by 2018, Serbia will achieve this goal. 

An important step in this direction is the Agency’s continuous professionalisation and licensing of public procurement officials. So far, there are over 2,000 certified public procurement officials working across Serbia. This is an area in which the Office has been supported by the Norwegian embassy through a project, coordinated by UNDP.

Meanwhile, in order to make the entire process more transparent, the Office is proud of its portal of public procurement. There one can find all the necessary information (contract, tender documentation, decision of the Commission for Protection of Competition, if any etc.) related to each case. “We only need plans for procurement to have completed files for each case, but we hope to include this soon, once changes to the Law are adopted,” adds Jovanovic. People seem to find this data base useful, as in the last quarter of 2014, it had 500,000 visits.
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Transparency Intl: more civil control over procurement would reduce corruption

More control by civil groups over public procurement would increase transparency when it comes to tapping EU funds as well as reducing the cost of projects and corruption, the head of Transparency International Hungary said. TI has repeatedly warned about the risk of corruption involved in the rules and implementation of Hungary’s public procurement processes, József Péter Martin said, referring to the European Union’s 2015 Hungary report, which said that a lack of competition and transparency was especially worrying. The European Commission has asked the Hungarian government to participate in a pilot project involving civil supervision of EU-financed projects. This pilot would offer a good opportunity to demonstrate that “public procurement can be completed without corruption,” Martin said.

Zoltán Kéri, department head at the Cabinet Office, said it is a “common interest” that public funds should be legitimately disbursed and those monies should really serve development. Kéri also insisted that the commission’s critical remarks had not been directed at Hungary’s regulations but at “the way they are implemented in daily practice”. He added that proposals before Parliament seek to increase competition and ensure that public procurement is simpler and faster.

TI’s legal director Miklós Ligeti welcomed that the new public procurement law would increase transparency and competition, but said that reducing red tape could involve risks of corruption. He also called it ill-considered that under the new legislation public tenders could be restricted to any three bidders selected by the procurement agency.
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Australia launches bid to join government procurement pact | Scoop News

Australia launches bid to join government procurement pact

Australia has formally launched its bid to join the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), underlining its commitment to work towards timely accession to the pact. The announcement was made at a 3 June meeting of the Committee on Government Procurement where progress was also reported on the accession bids of several pending applicants.

Australia said it planned to submit an initial market access offer for GPA accession within the coming months, which will trigger the negotiations on its entry terms.

“Australia enjoys a world-class government procurement system based on the principles of value for money and non-discrimination and is open to competition from foreign suppliers,” Australia told the committee.

At the same meeting, parties to the GPA agreed to accept the requests from Costa Rica and Thailand for observer status in the committee. Thirty-one WTO members now hold observer status; 12 of these observers are negotiating accession to the GPA, with two — Montenegro and New Zealand — having already completed their accession talks.

Costa Rica noted that the GPA already serves as the model for government procurement chapters in existing free trade agreements, including those Costa Rica has already concluded with the European Union and Singapore. The agenda of the committee is also of great interest as it addresses issues in key areas such as encouraging small and medium-size enterprises to become more active in procurement bidding, Costa Rica said.


Thailand said observer status in the committee presented an excellent opportunity to learn more about the GPA and eventually contribute to the system, as well as prepare Thailand for other negotiations in the future.

Both new observers emphasized the importance of sound government procurement systems based on international best practices for good governance and economic development.

Parties to the GPA welcomed the moves by Costa Rica and Thailand and expressed hope that the two countries would ultimately decide to initiate negotiations on accession to the agreement.

Pending ratifications

Montenegro told the committee that its domestic ratification process for the GPA has now been successfully concluded. Montenegro said it expected to submit the GPA instrument of acceptance to the WTO in the coming days. The committee decided in October 2014 to accept Montenegro as a party to the GPA and gave it six months to deposit its instrument of accession, a deadline which was later extended until 29 June 2015.

New Zealand also told the committee that its parliament has approved the GPA and that the domestic ratification process was now being finalized, with the country on track to deposit its instrument of acceptance by the 29 July deadline. New Zealand was also accepted as a party to the GPA last October.

Separately, Armenia notified the committee that it has ratified therevised GPA, which came into force in April 2014. The Republic of Korea and Switzerland are the only two current parties to the GPA that have not yet ratified the revised agreement; Korea said it was still awaiting a review of the agreement by its constitutional court, which it described as a procedural step, while Switzerland noted that ratification was linked to changes in its domestic procurement rules which still required review at both the federal and sub-federal levels.

Pending accessions

Parties welcomed the submission by Ukraine on 26 May of a draft final offer and said they had no remaining issues with Kiev on the proposed membership terms. Ukraine said it would make every effort to circulate the final offer by the end of June so that its membership could be approved at the next committee meeting in September, a move which would open the way for possible ratification before the WTO's 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi next December. The parties praised Ukraine for its efforts in bringing the talks towards a successful conclusion. Ukraine applied for GPA accession in February 2011, with its initial offer submitted in March 2014.

Tajikistan told the committee it was still reviewing questions posed by parties regarding its initial offer for GPA accession submitted in February and would get back with replies as soon as possible. The majority of parties welcomed the quality of the initial offer and said they would be seeking improvements in areas such as the covered procuring entities and the proposed thresholds in addition to information on Ukraine's procurement system. Tajikistan applied for GPA accession in February 2015.

Moldova said it has sorted out remaining concerns with parties on its GPA membership terms and believed the negotiations on its accession had come to a successful end. One party said it was pleased Moldova had responded to its concerns about its suppliers being granted equal, non-discriminatory access to the country's procurement market and that it was prepared to join a consensus behind welcoming Moldova as a GPA member. Committee chairman John Newham (Ireland) said the “foot was on the pedal” for Moldova's accession and that parties would come back in September to decide on the remaining steps. Moldova applied for GPA accession in February 2002.

China's delegation delivered a short statement on its pending accession. China noted that it submitted its 5th revised GPA accession offer last December where it explained the changes contained therein (some detailshere). China said its position on acceding to the GPA as soon as possible has never changed and that accession would be to everyone's benefit. China said it was also willing to continue the dialogue with parties and try to find a solution on its membership terms. Finally, China urged parties to take a practical attitude towards the 5th revised offer and accelerate the accession process.

Parties generally took a conciliatory tone towards China. One party said it had a constructive and encouraging bilateral with China the previous day and welcomed in particular Beijing's willingness to communicate and find solutions. China's last offer showed it could deliver significant improvements, but the 5th offer still fell short in several areas, notably coverage of sub-central entities, state-owned enterprises and the proposed thresholds, the party said. Others similarly welcomed China's efforts and constructive bilateral talks with the Chinese delegation but cited similar shortcomings in the 5th revised offer. All those intervening said they were pleased with China's reaffirmation of its support for the GPA and its willingness to continue engagement and dialogue.

Mr Newham said the interventions were encouraging and that everyone agrees on the high importance attached to China's GPA accession and the appetite for further discussion. Delegations have expressed their desire to return to substantive discussions in September, he noted, adding that perhaps China could offer a timeline on a possible future revised offer at that meeting. China applied for GPA accession in December 2007.

The Kyrgyz Republic said it had planned to submit a new offer for GPA accession at the June meeting but this had been delayed due to the recent resignation of its government and its accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). It would do so as quickly as possible.

Other matters

The chairman outlined his “hopes and aspirations” for the committee over the remainder of the year. He said the committee should be ambitious and aim to conclude negotiations on at least one, and if possible, two or three accessions. Adopting a decision on arbitration procedures for facilitating resolution of objections to proposed changes in a member's GPA commitments (as mandated in the revised GPA), carrying forward efforts on the committee's new work programmes under Article XXII:8 of the revised GPA in an “energetic and constructive” spirit, and addressing any outstanding questions regarding the entry into force of the revised GPA were identified by the chairman as other priorities for the year. He also said parties should consider holding a further ministerial-level meeting on the margins of the upcoming Nairobi Ministerial Conference, as they did during the two previous ministerials. Experience has shown holding such a meeting can be a useful tool in progressing the committee's work and giving a higher profile to the GPA generally, Mr Newham said.

Without doubt, the Agreement on Government Procurement is becoming more and more important over time. This is a consequence not only of the Agreement's increasing membership, its role as a bulwark of market access in the modern global economy, and its recent successful renegotiation, but also of its growing role as an instrument of good governance and its significance for related internal reforms that are being pursued by many countries.

- John Newham, chairman of the Committee on Government Procurement

Background

Government procurement accounts for 15-20 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in developed and developing countries. Only a part of this is currently covered by the Agreement on Government Procurement. The aim of the Agreement is to open up as much of government procurement as possible to international trade and competition, while ensuring appropriate transparency and a commitment to good governance.

Accession to the GPA requires, in addition to the existence of GPA-compliant national procurement legislation, the reaching of agreement on the terms of participation by each acceding WTO member. This is achieved through negotiations with the existing parties to the Agreement.

The schedule of each party setting out terms of participation contains several annexes which define the party's commitment with respect to four dimensions of coverage:

• the procuring entities covered by the Agreement

• the goods, services and construction services covered by the Agreement

• the threshold values above which procurement activities are covered by the Agreement; and

• exceptions to the coverage.

Recently, the GPA was revised to modernize certain aspects of its rules and to expand its scope. The revised version of the Agreement came into force in April 2014.

The GPA is a plurilateral agreement within the framework of the WTO, meaning that not all WTO members are parties to the Agreement. Currently, it covers 43 WTO members: Armenia; Canada; the European Union, with its 28 member states; Hong Kong, China; Iceland; Israel; Japan; Korea; Liechtenstein; the Kingdom of the Netherlands with respect to Aruba; Norway; Singapore; Switzerland; Chinese Taipei; and the United States. The accession terms of Montenegro and New Zealand were approved on 29 October 2014 and their accessions will take effect when the required legal instruments are submitted.

Other WTO members that have started the process of acceding to the Agreement on Government Procurement are Albania, Australia, China, Georgia, Jordan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Oman, Tajikistan and Ukraine. A further five members — the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and Seychelles — have provisions regarding accession to the Agreement in their respective protocols of accession to the WTO.
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webinar "Life-cycle costing on public procurement" - 9th June 2015

We would like to invite you to attend the webinar "Life-cycle costing on public procurement" which will take place on the 9th of June from 14:30-16:00 (CEST, GMT+1).

 

Purpose & framework

Life-cycle costing (LCC) is considered a useful tool that could deliver financial savings as well as reductions in the environmental impact of purchases made by public authorities. The European Commission would like to encourage and facilitate the wider use of LCC by making available tools and approaches that could facilitate the application of common LCC methods among European public authorities.

The purpose of this Webinar is to obtain feedback on the European Commission's LCC concept currently in the process of development. The experiences from the developers of similar tools on LCC will also be shared during the Webinar.

This is the first of two GPP Webinars being organised during 2015. The Webinars form part of the service provided through the European Commission's Helpdesk on GPP (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/helpdesk.htm). They will provide a forum to inform stakeholders working in the field of public sector procurement about important new developments in the resources available and legislative context for GPP, and provide a forum for discussion.

 

Date & time

Tuesday 9 June 2015, 14:30 - 16:00 (CEST, GMT+1)

 

Language

English

 

Organisers

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, on behalf of the European Commission (DG Environment)

 

Topics & format

The Webinar will address the following:

- The goal and approach the European Commission are taking on the development of a tool to calculate the LCC (according to art. 68 Directive 2014/24/EU) for specific products for the purposes of public procurement.

- Present the experiences, in terms of strengths and weaknesses, of a selected few LCC tools from various EU Member States

- Provide an open forum for stakeholders working in the areas of LCC analysis, environmental externalities and/or public procurement to provide expert input and/or share experiences.

The Webinar will feature four presentations from experts in the fields of LCC and green public procurement (GPP). Opportunities for questions and feedback from attendees during the Webinar will be also provided.

It is important to note that the Webinar will not offer presentations of the LCC tools available and their workability (from Sweden, Denmark or the SMART SPP project).

 

Speakers featured

- Introduction, Stefania Minestrini, European Commission, Directorate General Environment

- Concept for EU LCC calculation tool, Ugo Pretato (Studio Fieschi) and Fabio Iraldo (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna), Italy

- Experiences from the Swedish LCC tool, Annie Stalberg, Swedish Competition Authority (SCA), Sweden

- Experiences from the Danish TCO tool, Iben Liep Kinch Sohn, Danish Ministry of Environment, Denmark

- Experiences from the SMART SPP LCC-CO2 emissions tool, Aure Adell (Ecoinstitut, Spain) and Dominik Seeback (Okoinstitut, Germany)

 

Target audience

- Public procurement authorities, public purchasers and policy-makers from public and semi-public entities,

- Private sector representatives including SMEs, manufacturers and suppliers

- European policy-makers

- Multipliers (e.g. NGOs, environment agencies, scientific institutions, international organisations)

 

Registration

Participation is free of charge.

Register by sending an email to gpp-helpdesk@iclei.org. You will be sent more information upon registering.

 

Recommended further reading

- LCC and green public procurement - http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/lcc.htm

- Swedish Tool - http://www.kkv.se/upphandling/hallbar-upphandling/stall-hallbarhetskrav/Livscykelkostnader-LCC/

- Danish Tool - http://csr-indkob.dk/compra/totalomkostninger/

- SMART SPP Tool - http://www.smart-spp.eu/index.php?id=7633

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Bill would transpose EU directives into public procurement law | The Budapest Business Journal on the web | bbj.hu

Bill would transpose EU directives into public procurement law | The Budapest Business Journal on the web | bbj.hu | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
Hungarian lawmakers yesterday submitted a bill to Parliament that would transpose new European Union directives into national law on public procurements, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

All member states must transpose the new directives into national law by April 18, 2016, however, the deadlines for bringing rules on electronic public procurement in line with EU norms and for applying the rules universally are not until April 2017 and October 2018, respectively.

Under the bill, the new directives would allow member states a broader opportunity to integrate public procurement policy with strategic goals, such as innovation, social aims – including job creation – and environmental sustainability.
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Denmark at the forefront of digitisation of public procurement in Europe - Dansk Standard

Denmark at the forefront of digitisation of public procurement in Europe - Dansk Standard | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it

Denmark will spearhead the standardisation process of digitising public procurement across the EU. Danish Standards and the Danish Agency for Digitisation have managed to win the international secretariat that is to set the framework for common European electronic procurement processes. A kick-off meeting will take place on June 17-18.

The secretariat is a result of a multi-annual European cooperation, and is directly connected to the new EU directive on public procurement requiring that all public procurement of the EU member states must be electronic as from 2018. Digitising of procurement processes should be based on common international standards and open source to ensure the exchange of data of new electronic systems in all phases from invitations to tender to awards of public contracts and procurement. This will form the basis of increased competition and transparency to the benefit of Danish and foreign tenderers who will gain the benefit of reduced transaction costs in addition.
Jesper Jerlang, Director of Standardisation of Danish Standards:
- The cost savings potential is considerable in Denmark alone. Presumably 10 percent of the approx. DKK 300 billion annual public procurement turnover in Denmark make up the transaction costs. The annual public procurement in the EU amounts to approx. DKK 15,000 billion, so the potential for cost savings is large. The fact that Denmark will spearhead the work can turn out to be of great benefit to Danish developers and suppliers of procurement systems for enterprises and public procurement authorities, if they participate in the standardisation work. Participants of the standardisation work will gain early insight into and the ability to influence the development of the standards that will set the framework for a rapidly growing international market for procurement systems in the coming years.
Lars Frelle-Petersen, Director General of the Danish Agency for Digitisation:  
- Denmark is already a pioneer country when it comes to applying systems for e-invoicing and NemID (digital services to the public). Through NemHandel (system for e-trade with the public sector) Denmark has gained good experience with systems based on open standards and open source. Especially on the invoicing area, public authorities have reached various efficiency gains in the handling of the more than 18 million electronic invoices that are processed annually. Accordingly, e-procurement is a natural next step. By heading the standardisation work in Denmark, the Danish conditions to influence all the other e-processes to be standardised will favourable, e.g. electronic products catalogues and contract awards.
Anders Hoffmann, Deputy Director General at Danish Business Authority:
- Cross-border trade enhances growth in the Danish society, and international standards facilitate global trade. As standards will play an increasingly important role, it will become more important for Denmark to exert influence on the development of international standards. Consequently, it has been an evident objective for the Danish Business Agency to win the secretariat for Denmark, and I am very pleased that we succeeded. In our future work we can use our experience and expertise within electronic procurement to influence the development of new standards to the benefit of both Danish enterprises and public authorities.
The secretariat will be partly funded by the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth, the Danish Agency for Digitisation, with contributions from the national standards organisations of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.  
An international kick-off meeting will take place at the premises of Danish Standards, where Danish stakeholders are welcome to participate.
Read more about the committee for e-procurement (in danish).

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Czech Republic: public procurement rule changes | Briefings | The Lawyer

On 6 March 2015, amendment No. 40/2015 (‘the Amendment’) to Act No. 137/2006 Coll., on public procurement (the ‘Act’) was enacted. The Amendment removes some of the more problematic obstacles in the area of public procurement; at the same time, it also imposes stricter conditions on the review procedure before the Czech Competition Authority (‘Office’).

Some key changes which the Amendment has brought are of particular note.

1. Annulment of the obligation to cancel a tender procedure that has resulted in a single bid
The Amendment removes the obligation to cancel a tender procedure if the contracting authority receives only a single bid or, if after assessment of the bids, there is only one left for evaluation. Thus, a tender procedure may continue even when there is only a single bid. This does not, of course, preclude the right of the contracting authority to cancel the tendering procedure. This might enable the contracting authority to speed up the process of choosing the winning bid and otherwise bringing about a realisation of the contract. On the other hand, this particular amendment brings back the regulation that had been criticised a few years ago due to the fact that it could be easily misused by the contracting authority…

Click on the title to read the rest of the Schoenherr briefing.

Czech Republic: public procurement rule changes (PDF, 69.55 kB)

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Procurement teams the 'biggest enemy' to SMEs breaking in to government, says ex HMRC CIO

Procurement teams the 'biggest enemy' to SMEs breaking in to government, says ex HMRC CIO | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
The biggest enemy of SMEs trying to break into government IT are the procurement teams that work in Whitehall departments, claims former HMRC CIO Phil Pavitt.
Pavitt, who is now global CIO of Specsavers, worked at HMRC between 2009 and 2012, before moving to insurance firm Aviva in 2013.
Further reading
A quarter of government ICT procurement to involve SMEs by 2015
Government IT exec to Whitehall CIOs: 'You've got IT procurement all wrong' - but is he right?
Francis Maude claims G-Cloud procurement spend now over £175m
In an interview with Computing, Pavitt explained that procurement teams in Whitehall departments and in central government have been talking up the use of SMEs rather than larger companies, but that this "talk" doesn't turn into actions.
"They talk about SMEs, and then every process and decision including G-Cloud goes against it. The biggest enemy of SMEs breaking into the government supply side is the procurement teams; they don't want it, they actively fight it, and you talk to SMEs who are trying to do business with government and it is almost as hard today as it was five years ago," he said.
Back in 2011, the government outlined how it would seek to achieve the government's objective to do 25 per cent of its business with SMEs, and Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has continually stated that government is trying to create a level playing field with many of the larger IT companies.
G-Cloud was one of the initiatives that was supposed to help achieve this; it was set up as a framework that listed approved service providers. Public-sector organisations could procure cloud-based services from suppliers listed in the framework's CloudStore, cutting short the typically lengthy government tender process, and SMEs were in for a slice of the business.
But Pavitt believes that while G-Cloud gives SMEs a forum on which to advertise their services - very little is being spent with them. "If you find out how much of the £15bn-£16bn they spend on IT from SMEs, and I'll tell you - it's tens of millions, which is an absolute joke," he said.
The government has released statistics that suggested that 25 per cent or £11.4bn of its overall spend between 2013 and 2014 was with SMEs (that includes non-IT related contracts too). But the breakdown of the statistics it released was unclear. The G-Cloud itself has awarded more than 50 per cent of its spending to SMEs - but the £431m total that has been spent to the end of 2014 is not much in the grand scheme of things.
Pavitt continued: "Five years after making a huge statement on SMEs, and at HMRC, we did the first SME supplier ever to join - which was a huge battle by the way to get [through the procurement hurdles] - and the numbers that followed them are less than double-digit."
The reason for this, he said, was because the last thing procurement teams wanted was to do business with SMEs.
"Forget the hype, the last thing they want are SMEs in procurement in a department because the headache, the issue, the contract management, the overheads - they are just not geared up to do it, and most SMEs are giving up working with government," Pavitt said.
He added that G-Cloud was a great idea, but that much like the digital transformation in government, they have changed the front-end but not the (procurement) back-end.
"That's been very typical with the IT department under Liam Maxwell and the others: it has all been about the way it looks, there has been no fundamental DNA change, it has just been window dressing. It is the right window dressing, but it will never stick because they haven't changed the fundamentals," he concluded.
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Lincolnshire County Council reveals library procurement plan

Lincolnshire County Council reveals library procurement plan | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
The search is on for an external organisation to deliver library services on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council.

The authority is undertaking a competitive procurement process after an approach by Greenwich Leisure Limited - a not-for-profit organisation interested in running local libraries.

The contract notice for this procurement will be published today, Thursday, April 16.

Lincolnshire County Council officer Tony McGinty said: “Although we potentially face a second legal challenge, we intend to continue working on the procurement of the new-look service.

“The need to make substantial savings within the service remains, and it’s important we do what we can to achieve this.

“And we’re confident that, under our proposals, we can do this in a way that both saves money and creates a library service that is fit for the 21st century.”

Council-operated heritage sites will be included in the contract notice, although no decision has been taken on their future.

Mr McGinty added: “The council is currently considering how best to make the £120 million of annual savings required as a result of reduced funding and rising demand for services.


“That means looking at how all our services are delivered, including those relating to culture and heritage.

“One thing we may want to consider at some point in the future is whether these services could potentially be delivered by someone else on our behalf.

“And by mentioning them in this contract notice we simply leave that door open.

“If we do eventually decide to go down that route, this will avoid unnecessarily duplicating work, enable us to explore with bidders potential alternative ways of delivering these services and give us the flexibility to extend the contract if the proposals have merit.


“However, I must stress that at this stage, no decisions have been taken, and none will be taken until we have consulted with stakeholders.

“Identifying the best approach will require extensive preparatory work, and it is unlikely that a decision on the best way forward for these services will be taken before 2016.”

Campaigner and former headteacher Julie Harrison has issued a statement on the latest activities by the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign group.

She said: “Our position is that we are exploring the possibility of launching further legal action. However we are exploring not only action against the council but also against the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport who seem blind to the effect of cuts by councils crippled by central government cuts.

“DCMS’s decision to accept the complaint by Maurice Nauta but then be minded not to set up an enquiry is a disgrace. We are submitting further evidence and considering our options.”
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American teachers to train Romanian officials on public procurement

American teachers to train Romanian officials on public procurement | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will train over 50 Romanian officials on obtaining best value and incorporating life cycle cost analysis in public procurement procedures. The Romanian officials will attend a three-day workshop taught by teachers from the George Washington University, according to a USTDA statement.

The training will be organized under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the American Trade and Development Agency and the Romanian Government on June 17.

“An efficient public procurement system is vital to achieving sustained economic growth and development, while supporting businesses. Ultimately, it comes down to implementation. You can have the best policy in place, but it doesn’t mean much if the capability to implement is not there,” said U.S. Charge d’Affaires Dean Thompson, at the signing event.

“Public procurement is an essential part of establishing the rule of law for both the economy and its institutions, ensuring Romania’s sustained growth and fighting corruption,” he added.

“The experience and expertise brought by USTDA and George Washington University are important for improving the skills of Romanian specialists in better implementing the best value approach in public procurement.  We look forward to continuing our joint efforts,” said Radu Puchiu, Secretary of State of the Romanian Government’s Chancellery.

The workshop will support the Romanian Government’s goal of building the capacity of procurement staff and demonstrating positive results in public procurement, reads the statement.
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NHS could save £5bn per year with new procurement approach, says repor

England’s National Health Service could save £5bn per year by reducing procurement discrepancies and increasing spending visibility, a review will say.

The year-long review across 22 hospitals found that lack of standardization across their procurement approach has contributed to varying levels of efficiency throughout the NHS.

Lord Carter, who conducted the review, found a wide variation in spending on items, from aprons to latex gloves. The report, which will be published later, will say that some hospitals could save hundreds of thousands of pounds by reviewing their spending on basic items.

Latex gloves costing £5.44 a box in one hospital were bought for £2.39 in another. Aprons cost one hospital £2.51 each, but another paid £4.20.

Lord Carter found one hospital had managed to save £40,000 a year by using non-soluble versions of a tablet for liver failure that cost 2p instead of the soluble versions at £1.50.

Lord Carter also found that hip operations were costing some parts of the NHS more than double the amount they should.

That difference costs the NHS up to £17m extra every year.

Lord Carter said the gains could be "significant".

"We found some extremely good hospitals, some very efficient hospitals, but there are a number of hospitals that are not as good as they need to be."

He described the NHS as “one of the largest single-buyers in the world,” and said, “We failed to behave collectively enough.”

Nuffield Trust chief executive, Nigel Edwards, said: "Lord Carter is right that there is waste within the health service and that enormous savings could be made through standardisation.”

But Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers - which represents every variety of hospital trust - told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the NHS had worked "incredibly hard" over the last five years to save £20bn.

He added: "There is no organisation in this country that could not do better in terms of improving efficiency. In large complex organisations it's always possible to do things better."
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Innovation and procurement - Healthcare - training in Cambridge

Join the Leadership Programme for Efficiency, Quality and Sustainability in Healthcare through Innovation Procurement
Mar 13, 2015
The leadership programme has been developed by The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) in parternship with, and sponsored by, EcoQUIP. 

The aim of the programme is to stimulate, inform and inspire leadership for innovation procurement in support of quality, efficiency, and sustainability in healthcare operations. 

Find out more about the programme and how to apply : http://www.ecoquip.eu/about-ecoquip/associates-programme.html ;

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Navitus Bay supply chain event at Seawork

Navitus Bay supply chain event at Seawork | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it

Navitus Bay supply chain event at Seawork, 16th June 2015


SOREC will be hosting a supply chain event with Navitus Bay Development Ltd and E.ON Ltd – the developer of the Rampion Offshore Windfarm - as part of the conference programme at Seawork 2015. The event will take place on Tuesday 16th June 2015 from 10.00am to 2.30pm.

Companies will be able to hear about the wide range of opportunities available in this large project. Moreover, the Tier 1 suppliers for the project will be present including MHI Vestas who have recently been named as the preferred wind turbine supplier for the Navitus Bay Offshore Windfarm.

This is particularly significant as the turbine supplier will be responsible for the supply, installation and maintenance for 25 years of the turbines, making it the lion's share of the total project. So there will be supply opportunities for companies ranging from work boat manufacturers to cable companies.

Projects this big inevitably have a rigorous procurement regime, so it is important to find out early what is required to make best use of the commercial opportunity.

SOREC is working with Navitus Bay Development Ltd to arrange for 1 to 1 meetings with the Tier 1 suppliers on the Wednesday of Seawork - so watch out for developments on that.
Marine South East is also involved in the event, to bring a perspective on the Rampion wind farm development by E.ON, and thereby to help maximise the local supplier content in both the Rampion and Navitus Bay developments.

For more information about the Seawork conference programme please visit:

http://www.seawork.com/whats-on/Attend_Conference-Programme

To register to attend Seawork for free please go to:

https://livebuzzreg.co.uk/2015/sea15/reg/

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UK councils save nearly £500 million by sharing services including procurement | Supply Management

Councils sharing services have saved nearly £500 million of taxpayers' money, new research has revealed, with procurement among the services that are increasingly likely to be shared.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said that since the first map was released in 2012 – showing which councils are engaging in the process – authorities have saved £462 million by sharing services. This is an increase of £105 million on last year’s total of £357.
According to the latest shared services map there has been a huge increase in savings made from councils sharing back office functions, such as legal, audit and HR. The total saved so far by such functions is £145 million.
LGA research also found significant increases in the sharing of adult services, procurement services, and capital assets. Sharing services and management with other public sector organisations has saved more than £15 million.
For example Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Police and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services aim to save up to £4 million annually by sharing services such as procurement, finance, HR and printing. This scheme, called H3, is run equally governed by the three bodies and could be the first example of such cooperation between three different types of authorities in England, the LGA said.
The North East of England is seeing the fastest growth in shared service agreements, with 38 new arrangements in the past 12 months. In one example Durham County Council is working with North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group, Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group and County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust.
Councillor Peter Fleming, chair of the LGA's Improvement and Innovation Board, said: "As councils continue to find new ways to share services and provide the taxpayer with value for money, we are optimistic other areas of the public sector will be inspired by this work and follow the trail blazed by local government."
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View Notice - Public Contracts Scotland

Meet the Buyer Event on 27th May 2015, 5pm to 7.30pm.
The City of Edinburgh Council's Commercial and Procurement Services have arranged a Meet the Buyer Event at Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG.
Are you a local business looking for new opportunities?
This evening event will give you the opportunity to meet public sector buyers and find out how councils purchase operational goods and services.
Come along and meet the City of Edinburgh Council Commercial and Procurement Services team and find out how our procurement process works, and get free advice to help you make your bids more effective.
This evening event will give you the opportunity to meet public sector buyers from NHS Lothian, East Lothian Council, Midlothian Council and Scottish Borders Council, and meet and get advice from organisations including Business Gateway, Federation of Small Businesses and Supplier Development Programme.
Entry is free of charge and open to all suppliers who provide goods or services which the council purchases.
If you would like to attend please register at Business Gateway http://www.bgateway.com/events/event?id=3593e2ad-2e7a-4e4e-b21d-a48f00d48ced as numbers will be limited. The last event was oversubscribed so book early and let us know if you cannot attend.
If you are a supplier please visit our new Procurement pages and event calendar at;
Procurement surgeries, events and training | Supplier engagement | The City of Edinburgh Council - http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20240/suppliers_and_contractors/1286/supplier_engagement
Edinburgh - Business Gateway Event booking - http://www.bgateway.com/local-offices/edinburgh/events
Supplier Development Programme - Edinburgh SDP - http://www.sdpscotland.co.uk/edinburgh-lothians/edinburgh
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Public Procurement Violations Robbed Bulgaria’s Budget of BGN 13.991 M in 2014 - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency

Public procurement violations caused damage to the state coffers worth BGN 13.991 M in 2014, according to a report of Bulgaria’s Public Financial Inspection Agency (PFIA) presented on Wednesday at a regular meeting of the government.

At the same time the fines imposed for these violations stood at BGN 1.975 M.

According to the PFIA, 41 administrative violation notices against 44 public officials were issued for the sum of BGN 5.951 M of the total, while the remainder was the value of proposals for holding persons accountable for Labor Code breaches or other violations.

PFIA inspectors established irregularities in 924 out of the total of 2440 public procurement deals inspected in 2014.
In 508 deals the flaws concerned violations of the award procedure, including failure to observe deadlines, to submit information for publication, etc.

Apart from that in 416 of the tenders inspected the PFIA detected noncompliance with the Public Procurement Act, including violations of the principles of publicity and transparency, free and fair competition, equality and non-discrimination.

In 2014 the financial inspectors of the PFIA identified violations of the budget and financial discipline worth BGN 14.184 M.

In 2014 PFIA inspectors issued administrative violation notices to 981 natural persons and to 633 legal persons.
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SITE investigates public procurement thresholds in Sweden

SITE investigates public procurement thresholds in Sweden | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it

Researchers have found out that there is an indication of strategic bunching of Swedish tenders under the EU threshold and thresholds rules in public procurement affect the behaviour of procuring entities both in Sweden and internationally.


A recent FREE policy brief by Giancarlo Spagnolo, senior research fellow at SITE and professor of Economics at University of Rome II, and Elena Paltseva, research fellow at SITE, analyses the impact of procurement thresholds on strategic behavior of public buyers in Sweden.

In the policy brief authors summarize the results of their exploratory study of "Public Procurement Thresholds and Data in Sweden" drawn up by Roman Bobilev, Andrea Guglielmo, Elena Paltseva and Giancarlo Spagnolo and commissioned by Swedish Competition Authority. The report has documented signs of strategic bunching of public buyers at the EU thresholds. In other words, procurement thresholds affect not only the associated transaction costs, but also the strategic behaviour of procuring entities, a point overlooked in the current Swedish debate on public procurement. Media channels Publikt and Upphandling24 have also discussed the research results.

Policy Brief insights
The policy brief shows that there are signs of bunching, an anomalous concentration of procurements with values right below the regulatory thresholds.

In the policy brief authors provide illustrative histograms of tender values around the relevant thresholds, test for the presence of distribution discontinuity at the threshold and describe their results in detail. Read more about their research results and signs of bunching at the threshold in their policy brief "Public Procurement Thresholds in Sweden" by clicking on the title of this article"

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Cabinet Office clarifies its procurement position - Government Computing Network

Department indicates clauses in Small Business Act are not about centralising procurement, but streamlining it so that small businesses can gain better access to public sector contracts

 

The Cabinet Office has sought to clarify the appearance of two key clauses in the government's Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act which it was thought could shake-up local government procurement.

The two clauses in the Act, which became law last month, appeared to give the Cabinet Office authority to investigate and challenge local authority procurements, according to a report last week.

The first clause says: "The Minister for the Cabinet Office or the Secretary of State may by regulations impose on a contracting authority duties in respect of the exercise of its functions relating to procurement." The implication from this clause could be that the Cabinet Office may require local authorities to comply with its requirements and decisions on procurement.

The second clause says: "A Minister may investigate the exercise by a contracting authority of relevant functions relating to procurement." The further implication here is that the Cabinet Office could take steps to investigate the outcome of local authority procurements.

Now the Cabinet Office has sought to explain its thinking. Although the Cabinet Office is unable to comment publicly because of purdah, it is understood that the insertion of the clauses in the Act is not so much about centralising procurement, but in ensuring that high-quality procurement processes are in place across the public sector. The regulations will not remove the autonomy of local authorities to run their own processes and take responsibility for procurement decisions.

Government Computing further understands that Section 39, and regulations made under it, will not prevent a contracting authority from being able to use all of the relevant criteria it can already use when deciding how to award a contract. The section is about streamlining public procurement so that small businesses can gain better, more direct access to public sector contracts.

On asking whether there was any intention, or implied powers, for the Cabinet Office to be able to review a local authority procurement, Government Computing was led to believe that Section 40 of the Act gives ministers the power to require contracting authorities to provide information relating to the matters of a procurement being investigated. It sets out legal requirements on contracting authorities to provide reasonable assistance with the investigation, with the powers designed to ensure that contracting authorities are engaging in good procurement practice.

Commenting on the clauses, Andy Haigh, founder of public sector bidding specialist Sixfold International said, "To be fair, I have not read or even followed the UK's Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. So finding what is claimed to have a major impact upon UK public sector procurement practice buried deeply in the text was a surprise.

"My immediate reaction is twofold: Firstly, all UK public sector procurement above the threshold is ultimately subject to EU law. The new procurement rules reflect this. My expectation is that this, alone, will prevent the apocalyptic situation postulated. However, local authorities have not always been totally transparent in their procurement activities. Cabinet Office requirements upon them, such as the need to advertise all procurements on Contract Finder, is the type of situation where the identified clauses may improve procurement results.

He added, "Secondly, with the government's push for more SME access to public sector contracts, the government has to balance the risk avoidance procurement teams see in giving all the work to the big (with sufficient resources to be sued) type companies rather than the smaller ones. These clauses would give the likes of Francis Maude and similar procurement innovators some leverage to pursue a pro SME agenda. I see no Machiavellian plot yet. But I will continue to watch to see what happens."
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Local councils should act to ensure procurement policies help small businesses

As we all know, local and national politicians are fond of saying that small firms are the backbone of the economy.

Yet a recent Freedom of Information request from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) revealed that despite such sentiments, a significant part of the public sector in Wales simply has no idea of what it was spending with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

According to the business representative organisation, which has more than 10,000 members in Wales, only two Welsh local authorities were able to provide a detailed breakdown of their spending with SMEs, namely Gwynedd (60%) and Powys (58%).

Some said they don't even record the information
Incredibly, some said that they did not even record the information on their IT systems, while one council admitted that they would have to
go through their paper records manually to get the data.

Given the importance of SMEs to local economies, and the role of local councils in supporting their creation and growth through their economic development strategies, it is frankly unacceptable that the vast majority of Welsh councils simply didn’t have any idea of how they were supporting these firms through their own procurement spending.

Data from an earlier FSB report found that SMEs re-spend 49p in every £1 they receive back into their local economy, as compared to 31p for every £1 received by large firms. More importantly, around a quarter of this re-spending by SMEs will be on labour and therefore supporting local jobs.

It's critical as many local firms as possible get the chance to tender
Given this, it is critical as many local firms as possible get the chance to tender for public contracts, and a range of different approaches have been suggested by the FSB to ensure this happens.

One of the more practical suggestions is to ensure that contracts are broken down into smaller lots so that a small firm can realistically bid for such work.

Local councils must also ensure that it is easy for small firms to access the procurement process by making it as simple as possible.


A key part of this is ensuring that they engage fully with the SME community at all times, to ensure that local firms get full support with accessing the relevant information to be able to bid for contracts and that there are regular training opportunities in the tender process.

This will enable councils to not only develop the potential of their local supplier base, but also help them to build local capacity ahead of any major tender which firms could apply for.

Councils should record where citizens' money is spent
But as the FSB pointed out, the citizens of every local authority should also be able to know how their elected council is supporting the local business community, and it should become compulsory for all authorities to have mechanisms in place to record and analyse where and with which businesses (including the size of the firm) their money is spent.

Adopting this practice would also enable councils to monitor the economic impact of their spending decisions on the local economy.

To counter such arguments on supporting local firms, some of those responsible within the public sector keep coming up with excuses as to why they cannot work with SMEs.

There's no legal barrier to letting new businesses apply for contracts
For example, many new firms are told that they must be excluded from applying for public sector contracts because they do not have a sufficient track record. Yet there is no legal barrier to enabling new businesses to apply for public sector contracts.

It’s just that buyers within public bodies seem to view such an arrangement as risky, rather than as a way of engaging with entrepreneurs who would prefer to get a contract rather than a grant from a local council.

There is also the red herring of value for money that is raised as an excuse not to work with local firms, with some saying that they are usually more expensive than those larger organisations from outside the area that are competing for contracts.

But even if this is true in most cases, there remains a duty for councils to consider the wider impact of such contracts on the local economy.

More needs to be done to ensure small firms get a fair crack of the whip
For example, bidders should be asked about the impact of the contract on issues such as sustainability or local employment creation, although it would seem that this rarely happens.

So more needs to be done within the current system to ensure that smaller firms get a fair crack of the whip and that there is a greater focus on utilising the procurement system for local wealth creation.

In fact, if an additional 10% of all Welsh public sector contracts were to be awarded to SMEs, then that could generate funding that is more than twice the annual business support budget of the Welsh Government.

Yet we seem to have a situation where the vast majority of local authorities in Wales have no idea of how their own procurement spending could, and should, be helping local firms to create wealth and employment in their areas.

As a result, they seem to have no strategy in place to ensure that their approach to procurement can be focused on supporting the local economy.

That needs to end now and many small firms across Wales will hope that this is something that Leighton Andrews, the Minister for Public Services in Cardiff Bay, will take into account during his review on how local authorities will be organised in the future.

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The new procurement rules: a lighter touch and a better deal for SMEs | Briefings | The Lawyer

New procurement directives are due to be implemented across the EU. The UK government has published new Public Contracts Regulations, which incorporate both the EU directives and recommendations by Lord Young of Graffham on improving access to procurement contracts by SMEs. 

Changes include:

exempting certain contracts between contracting authorities where they are for genuine in-house requirements
provisions to facilitate SME participation, such as encouraging contracting authorities to break contracts into lots
provisions relating to the selection of suppliers including a much simpler process of assessing bidders’ credential
introduction of the ‘Innovation Partnership’…

 

Click the link to The Lawyer  to read more about the changes...

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