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Golden Book of e-Procurement Good Practices - European Commission

There are currently around 300 e-procurement systems in Europe. Certain systems have achieved excellence in performance, reliability, security. However, some systems are not easily accessible to foreign users, who may need to use country-specific tools to access them. Moreover, the proliferation of user interfaces makes it difficult for companies to respond to calls for tenders run on multiple platforms. Companies often have to learn how to use various platforms which are far from reaching a common "look-and-feel", unlike other e-commerce tools such as airline booking websites.

The EU e-Procurement single market is therefore facing two barriers: lack of cross-border interoperability and interface complexity. The Commission launched two projects to address these issues:

The Golden Book of e-procurement practices. The study, carried out by a consultant, analyses in depth around 30 electronic platforms used for public procurement in the EU. The report, the "Golden book of e-procurement", presents good practices in the area of e-procurement but also practices that should be avoided. These practices are aimed at helping to improve e-Procurement systems. Good and bad practices take into account, amongst other criteria, the needs of SMEs and cross-border suppliers when using an e- procurement platform.

[ Enter Golden Book of e-procurement practices ]

The e-Tendering expert group (eTEG).The eTEG developed a “blueprint” for an ideal pre-award e-Procurement system. Using this blueprint as a model, the Expert Group presents recommendations targeted at contracting authorities, policy makers or software developers that aim at simplifying the way e-procurement is conducted, particularly for SMEs and cross-border suppliers. The eTEG report is currently being finalised and will be published within a few weeks.

The two projects are complementary and take different perspectives. The eTEG recommendations are forward looking, as they are meant to influence the way e-procurement systems could be designed so as to reach an ideal situation. The Golden Book is identifying and analyzing only existing good practice, which was actually experienced by the consultant while using 30 e-procurement platforms. However the two projects, independently run, converged to homogeneous results.

Combined, the two reports (The Golden Book and the e-TEG report) address all procurement actors by offering practical means to assess the current state of their business and by providing guidelines for future development.

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Poland: the latest changes in Polish Public Procurement Law — the biggest amendment since 2004 | Briefings | The Lawyer

On 25 July 2014, the Polish Parliament passed on an amendment of the Public Procurement Law. The changes introduced by this legislation reflect suggestions put forward by the country’s entrepreneurs and representatives of its public administration. The amendments are designed to tackle the most serious problems encountered in the public procurement process in Poland, such as competition among economic operators based solely on price, social dumping and the impossibility of valorising already concluded contracts. The amendment will soon go to the Senate (the second chamber of the Polish Parliament) and will most likely come into force in the final quarter of 2014.

Currently, the outcome of public procurement tenders in Poland is usually determined only by the price criteria. This situation is unfavourable both for economic operators and contracting entities. Often, members of the first group, in their efforts to submit the ‘best’ (i.e. lowest-priced) offers, agree to carry out the contract at underestimated costs, which often confronts these entities with bankruptcy. The latter group, the contracting entities, have taken into consideration only one economic factor (i.e. price) and are likely to have received services or goods of low quality — or none at all, if the economic operator was declared bankrupt in the course of fulfilling the contract…

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6 ways to add competition to a public sector procurement process (first 2 here)

6 ways to add competition to a public sector procurement process (first 2 here) | Public Procurement - Europe |

The UK public sector procurement market is worth in the region of £150bn per year. Balancing quality and value is certainly a significant challenge.

Alongside supporting the process with appropriate technologyand guiding practitioners with effective best practice, maximising the level of effective competition in the market is perhaps the most crucial enabler to improving the value delivered by these budgets.

In public sector procurement, the guiding objective for authorities is to achieve value for money through fair and open competition. The Government defines value for money as “the optimum combination of whole life costs and quality”, but for fairness and competition, EU procurement law and principles (such as non-discrimination and transparency) also come into play.

Competition, then, is core to effective procurement and public bodies need to take steps to promote and encourage it. Below are 10 steps public sector procurers can take through the procurement process to help build and sustain a healthy level of competition.

Stage 1: Pre-procurement

The first stage in the standard procurement lifecycle is focused on strategy, planning and requirements definition. At this stage, authorities can also take action to nurture and drive competition.

1. Promote contract tender opportunities as widely as possible, using a variety of marketing channels to reach the largest potential marketplace.

2. Ensure engagement with the widest possible range of suppliers (especially where the marketplace is currently small) and consider innovative or alternative approaches to meeting contract requirements.

3. Where there isn’t a particularly competitive marketplace, take steps to encourage greater competition with the current supplier. And if there no (or minimal) competition, understand the capabilities of potential suppliers and consider adapting requirements accordingly or breaking the contract up into smaller requirements.

Stage 2: Tendering

From initial contact with bidders, through pre-qualification and selection, final tendering and the awarding of the contract authorities can address competition.

4. Make sure every bidder has access to exactly the same information about the contract with detailed requirements and accurate information. The more information they have the more accurate they will be able to make their pricing.

5. Manage bidders by including benchmarking within the terms of the contract, thereby encouraging tighter control of costs and performance.

6. Consider adjusting contract durations in order to achieve the maximum competitive outcome. Having shorter contracts with break clauses may deliver the potential for more competitive pricing as a result of the increased frequency of tendering.

A healthy competitive market benefits all participants in the public procurement process – and by following these basic tips, public authorities can help ensure that the spirit of competition is alive and well. Not only will the bidders be assured fairness and transparency in the tender process, but contracting authorities will reap commercial rewards – and value for money – as result of greater, more intense competition.

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Strong jump in buyers searching for suppliers Ι Construction Enquirer

A surge in buyers using the Constructionline register of prequalified contractors points to a continuing recovery in the industry.

Constructionline reported a 12% year-on-year increase in construction buyers’ use of its online procurement portal at the end of Q2 2014.

The figures are calculated from the number of tender lists and supplier searches run on the database.

Buyers’ use of  Constructionline increased by over 2% between March and June 2014, while the number of construction clients using the service to assess suppliers reached 2,665 in the second quarter – an increase of 31.

Constructionline’s subcontractor membership base also grew by 8% in the second quarter of 2014 and now totals in excess of 23,000 firms.

Neil Thompson, a director at Constructionline, said: “Over the past 12 months we’ve seen a steady rise in construction buyers using the service to assess suppliers, which all points towards increased activity on the horizon.

“While it’s evident that construction is benefiting from the wider UK recovery, there are new challenges facing the sector as it grows.

“The supply and demand issue has reversed since the downturn and there’s now a worry of capacity shortage among construction suppliers.

“To help combat the shortage of available subcontractors we expect more buyers will grow the number of construction partners they work with to deliver schemes.

“We regularly engage with buying organisations to help them source new suppliers through our meet the buyer events, supplier engagement days and webinars as well as advertising upcoming work opportunities on our noticeboard.”

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Green Procurement Guide for the Public Sector Ireland

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Middlesbrough FC aims to save £30,000 on food and drink procurement | Supply Management

Middlesbrough FC is aiming to achieve annual savings of £30,000 by outsourcing its food and beverage procurement.

The deal involves a review of all food-related purchasing at its Riverside Stadium and Rockcliffe Park training ground, while 10 per cent has already been saved in its food wholesale category through a supplier retendering process.

The work has taken place following the signing of a contract with Pelican Procurement Services which will oversee supplier tendering, sourcing, pricing negotiations and centralising invoicing and payments.

Mark Ellis, chief operating officer for the club, said they were aiming to save at least 12 per cent across all food and drink buying over a year.

“As a club, we host on average 25 football games per year, which brings crowds of around 16,000 on the concourses, in addition to serving around 700 meals in the hospitality areas,” he said. “We also host a range of conferences, banquets, weddings and other events. Our chefs are responsible for creating menus for the varying events but I felt it was time to bring in a procurement specialist to help not only reduce our food costs, but decrease the time our chefs spend on purchasing and administration.”

Shabaz Mohammed, managing director of Pelican Procurement Services, said: “We are delighted to be working with Middlesbrough Football Club to manage its food-related procurement. Our comprehensive service enables the club to completely outsource its purchasing requirements to us for its main Riverside Stadium facilities and also its training ground, Rockliffe Park."

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Green Public Procurement Newsletter July 2014

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How will the UK implement the new public procurement directive?

The Cabinet Office has indicated that it intends to follow a 'copy out' approach to implementing the new Public Procurement Directive (Directive 2014/24) in the UK with the aim of implementing the Directive by early 2015. The UK legislation will therefore reflect much more closely the European wording than it has done previously. Notwithstanding this approach, which the Cabinet Office has adopted partly in the interests of implementing the Directive as quickly as possible, there are a number of decisions that the Cabinet Office will have to make in transposing the Directive.  

Our team at Bird & Bird has identified the choices that the Cabinet Office will have to make and sought to identify the Cabinet Office's likely approach using the public policy notes issued to date, available discussion papers that were issued to the public sector towards the end of last year, and in some cases some educated best guesses. Our views on the likely UK approach to implementation of these decisions are set out in the table below and reflect the position as at 1 July 2014. 

Whilst the Cabinet Office has played down the number of decisions that are to be taken, in fact some of them will have an important impact on the shape of the new regime.  For example:

'appropriate national rules' must be developed and implemented for the procurement of 'light touch' services (which are largely those that are currently Part B services);the new Directive provides that authorities may exclude bidders for poor past performance – the Cabinet Office must decide the maximum time limit for taking that past performance into account;there are important decisions to be made as to how sub-contracting of public contracts will be dealt with going forward; andthe Cabinet Office must develop and implement new rules relating to avoiding conflicts of interest.

We are expecting that a formal consultation on the Directive should be issued either just before or just after the summer break. That will be an opportunity for those who are affected by the changes to shape the thinking that the Cabinet Office has already undertaken. 

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Croatia makes considerable progress in defence procurement transparency - Current Events - Croatia -

Croatia makes considerable progress in defence procurement transparency - Current Events - Croatia - | Public Procurement - Europe |

Although the defence budget is still not detailed enough, especially when it comes to companies owned by the military, Croatia has nevertheless made significant progress in ensuring transparency in defence procurement and ranks in the middle of EU countries, a conference on the transparency of public procurement in the defence system said in Zagreb on Friday.

The head of the Defence Ministry Department for Public Procurement, Branko Pribolsan, said that the number of classified items of defence procurement had been reduced from 50-60% two years ago to 5.7% of all items this year.

Classified items mostly relate to communications equipment, weapons and ammunition, he explained, adding that the ministry needs to ask for the approval of the parliamentary Defence Committee for any procurement exceeding five million euros.

As for inexpensive procurement contracts, for which public tendering is not required, Pribolsan said that such contracts were subject to stricter criteria than procurement by tendering. He said that last year such contracts accounted for 1% of all procurement by the Defence Ministry, and that the ministry tried to engage in all procurement projects as many business entities with security certificates as possible.

"We have prevented corruption to the maximum extent possible. Everyone is doing their job and no one can influence other participants in the procurement process," Pribolsan said.

The chairman of the parliamentary Defence Committee, Tomislav Ivic, concurred, but warned that the continued reduction of the defence budget, which this year is as much as 100 million euros smaller than in 2011, made the execution of goals set out in strategic defence documents impossible.

Ivic said that significant steps had been taken to ensure transparent procurement in the defence system, praising the Defence Ministry for its regular reports on public procurement plans for the next year, a practice introduced two years ago.

Leah Wawro of Transparency International UK's Defence and Security Programme said that Croatia was among countries with a moderate risk of corruption in the defence sector. She warned that the defence budget was insufficiently detailed, that there was a lack of transparency with respect to companies owned by the military and the present legislation did not encourage whistleblowers.

Wawro stressed the importance of parliamentary supervision of the defence system and proposed engaging experts to help legislators in assessing the quality of defence spending. She said that such problems were also encountered by other countries, adding that USD 1.7 trillion was spent annually on defence in the world and that billions were lost to corruption.

Eugen Kogan of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies spoke of the experience of 10 former Warsaw Pact countries and Turkey, saying that there was no tradition of accountability to taxpayers in those countries so that the transparency of their defence budgets was very low.

The conference was organised by the Croatian Centre for Peace Studies with the support of the Defence Ministry.

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Procurement Forum - How to procure innovation effectively?, Hungary

Procurement Forum - How to procure innovation effectively?, Hungary | Public Procurement - Europe |

On behalf of the European Commission, the Procurement of Innovation Platform project is organising a series of training sessions to provide both a theoretical framework and more practical advice on implementing public procurement of innovation (PPI). The seminar will be held in Hungary on 14 October 2014 and is aimed mainly at experts and procurers from the Central and Eastern European region.

Participation in the training is free of charge and on a case-by-case basis travel and accommodation for participants may be covered.
The training package is specifically tailored to meet different needs, and is suitable for both beginners and those with more experience. The latest PPI support tools will be introduced and discussed, and specific aspects of innovation and procurement, such as criteria setting or pre-procurement aspects, will be explored. Specially developed materials will also be provided and experts will be on hand to give advice.

If you are directly involved in procurement within a public authority and are interested in developing your skills, this training is an excellent opportunity. The one day training is free of charge and will consist of approximately 15 participants each. We strive for a balance of international participants, so invite people from across Europe to participate. The costs for travel and accommodation may be covered on a case-by-case basis

o apply, please send an email with your contact details to Péter Szuppinger. Applicants are selected on a first-come, first-served basis with a maximum of 2 applicants per organisation.

Training is open for public servants working as policy makers, project managers and procurers. a maximum of two applicants per organisation are accepted. (The organisers reserve the right to reject applications to the training) Organiser: Procurement of Innovation Platform

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UN total procurement spend for 2013 rises 4.6 per cent to $16.1 billion | Supply Management

UN total procurement spend for 2013 rises 4.6 per cent to $16.1 billion | Supply Management | Public Procurement - Europe |

The United Nations spent $16.1 billion (£9.4 billion) on goods and services in 2013, 60 per cent of which was sourced from developing countries and those with economies in transition.

Pharmaceuticals, healthcare services, medical equipment, transportation, construction and food categories topped the list of spend areas, according to the latest Annual Statistical Report on UN Procurement.

Among the largest purchasers overall were UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organisation.

The total procurement spend increased by 4.6 per cent from the previous year, up from $15.4 billion (£9 billion) in 2012.

The report found a continuing “positive increase” in UN procurement from developing countries and those in economic transition over the last ten years.

From 2009 to 2013, procurement from these countries – which include Afghanistan, Brazil, China and the United Arab Emirates – increased by more than $2 million (£1.2 million).

Overall, the three largest countries of supply were the US at $1.7 billion (£994 million), India at $1 billion (£584 million) and Switzerland at $716.6 million (£419 million). Just over 3 per cent or $493.8 million (£288.7 million) of the total purchasing spend was with UK-based suppliers, the report found.

“General Assembly Resolution 57/279 on procurement reform encourages UN organisations to increase opportunities for suppliers from developing countries and countries with economies in transition,” the report read. “In response, UN organisations have placed more orders with suppliers from these countries.”

The report also revealed UN organisations are actively promoting sustainable procurement, with 24 organisations implementing a range of initiatives such as training and support for sustainability integration in the procurement process.

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SEAI - Small Business Innovation Research – Electric Vehicle Smart Charging

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) falls under the category of pre commercial procurement (PCP).  PCP, as defined by the European Union, involves the purchase of research by a Government entity which is undertaken with the objective of stimulating innovation that the contracting authority or some other party may benefit from at a later stage when goods or services not currently available are developed from the outcomes of the research.

This project responds to item 95, Action Plan for Jobs 2013, which tasks Enterprise Ireland with launching a pilot Small Business Innovation & Research (SBIR) type programme in Ireland in 2014.

SEAI is launching Ireland’s first SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) competition, in collaboration with ESB Innovation and Enterprise Ireland, to develop a smart technology solution for charging Electric Vehicles (EVs) in shared access parking areas.

SEAI are seeking applications to assess the viability of providing innovative EV charging solutions to apartment dwellers with communal or shared parking areas.

Approximately 12% of Irish dwellings are apartments and c.1/3 of all homes in Dublin are apartments. The limitations of the current solutions effectively lock many urban car owners out of this segment of the EV market. Hence, there is a need for a smart product/service to allow these residents to charge their EV in their remote parking space or communal area via communal power infrastructure.

The competition is open to any organisation, developers of electrical and electronics products, smart control and billing system designers, universities and service providers.

Developments are 100% funded and focused on specific identified needs, increasing the chance of exploitation. Suppliers will be selected by an open competition process and retain the intellectual property generated from the project, with certain rights of use retained by the SEAI. This is an excellent opportunity to establish an early customer for a new technology and to fund its development.

The SBIR Invitation to Tender can be found on eTenders from 1st July 2014 with the deadline for submission of noon on the 30th of August 2014.

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Meet Your Buyer 2014 - ecoprocura 26th September

Meet Your Buyer 2014 - ecoprocura 26th September | Public Procurement - Europe |

Enterprise Europe Network welcomes you to participate at the international brokerage event during Meet Your Buyer which takes place on 26th September 2014.

Meet Your Buyer is a meeting point for more than 200 public buyers and different organizations 
that are best in class in the field of sustainability and innovation.This event is an unprecedented forum in which the government and the organizations 
enter in dialogue with each other, exchange information and begin sustainable cooperation.Furthermore, it is an ideal starting point to promote sustainable enterprise.
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European Court confirms possibility to demand Fair Trade criteria in public procurement

European Court confirms possibility to demand Fair Trade criteria in public procurement | Public Procurement - Europe |

10 May 2012 (Brussels) - Two days before World Fair Trade Day, the Court of Justice of the European Union provides much-needed legal clarification by confirming that Fair Trade criteria can be included in public procurement. This confirms the practice across the European Union by contracting authorities and cannot be ignored in the current revision of the EU Public Procurement Directive.

This decision puts an end to a dispute between the Dutch Government and the European Commission. In 2008 the Province of North Holland, published a tendering procedure for a public contract for the supply and management of automatic coffee machines, which referred to products bearing the EKO and Max Havelaar labels. The European Commission referred the Netherlands to the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2010 for non-compliance with the EU public procurement rules.

In its ruling today, the Court clearly states that contracting authorities can chose award criteria based on considerations of an environmental or social nature. The Court also explicitly states it is possible to refer in award criteria “to the fact that a product is of fair trade origin”. Consequently, public authorities can give preference to a bidder who includes Fair Trade criteria.

The judgment also confirms that contracting authorities can refer to the environmental characteristics of Fair Trade (e.g. no pesticides, no Genetically Modified Organisms) as part of the technical specifications of a call for tenders.

Concerning the reference to labels, the Court considers that, by referring to a label without listing the underlying criteria of this label, the North-Holland Province did not comply with the provisions of the Directive . The Court is of the view that it is necessary to specify the underlying criteria of labels, such as Fair Trade labels. Labels are nevertheless considered by the Court as a valid means of proof of compliance with such criteria, provided that other means of proof are allowed.

Overall, the ruling is good news for the Fair Trade movement as it clarifies the inclusion of Fair Trade considerations all along the tendering process, under the current EU Public Procurement Directive. Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office stated “we welcome the confirmation by the European Court that Fair Trade criteria can be supported through public procurement under the current EU rules”.

This clarification is on time as the EU Public Procurement Directive is currently being revised at EU level. An important issue at stake is whether, in the future EU rules, technical specifications can refer to social aspects in production process “The European Parliament and Council of Ministers should ensure the future EU rules permit a distinction to be made in the technical specifications between products produced with or without, for example, forced child labour”.

The ruling is also timely as it has been issued two days before World Fair Trade Day, an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) that takes place every second Saturday of May. In this context, Fair Trade will be celebrated on 12 May 2012 in diverse places and cultures across the globe. Various events are organized in more than 70 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Pacific Rim.

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out for Fair Trade and trade justice with the aim to improve trading conditions for marginalised producers and workers in the South. It is a joint initiative of the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA), Fairtrade International (FLO and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe (WFTO-Europe). These networks bring together over 2 million Fair Trade producers from more than 60 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, hundreds of specialized Fair Trade importers, over 3000 Worldshops and more than 100,000 volunteers.

Contact: Elba Estrada. Fair Trade Advocacy Office. Rue Fernand Bernierstraat 15 – 1060 Brussels – Belgium. Tel: +32 (0) 4 73 540 741. Email: estrada[at]

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Builder and drinks firm in battle for events venue as tender process collapses -

A bitter battle has erupted between property developer Owen O'Callaghan and BAM/Heineken Ireland over Cork's €50m concert venue, its answer to Dublin's O2 and Belfast's Odyssey Arena.


Tensions deepened after Cork City Council was last week forced to abandon a public tender process for the giant events centre amid fears any winning bid would not be legally valid.

The council confirmed via a posting on the EU tenders website that it was suspending a lengthy tender process for the new 7,000-seater venue. It will instead opt for a "direct negotiating process" with the two main interested parties, Mr O'Callaghan and BAM/Heineken Ireland.

Both have tabled rival bids for €16m in promised city council and National Lottery funding.

The proposals were ready to proceed to immediate construction, but the new process will delay the project by several months.

The process collapsed amid concerns that the tender system was not legally valid after US events centre operator, Live Nation, which runs Dublin's O2, withdrew from the two main bids.

Live Nation's withdrawal came after it voiced concerns over conditions applied by City Hall. It was feared that these conditions could have an impact on the future commercial operations of the proposed venue. Only one tender was submitted to the city council by the July 4 deadline, from BAM/Heineken. Mr O'Callaghan, who is leading the rival project, opted not to submit a tender amid concerns it would not be legally valid without having an events operator fully on board.

"We are not surprised at this outcome," Mr O'Callaghan told the Sunday Independent.

"The withdrawal of Live Nation, the proposed operator for both bidders, from the process some weeks ago ensured that the competitive process around public funding for the project could not be finalised."

However, the developer insisted that his firm was still very interested in providing a modern events centre for Cork.

"We will look carefully at the new process that is being put in place by the city council and assess whether it can form a realistic basis for the delivery of this important project for Cork," he said.

BAM/Heineken also said it remains committed to providing an events centre.

The drinks company's bid is focussed on the old Beamish & Crawford brewery site on South Main Street in the city centre. It argues that locating the venue on its site will help transform one of Cork's most ancient areas and enhance nearby attractions, including St Fin Barre's Cathedral, the Medieval city walls and the 18th Century English Market. The O'Callaghan project involves a site at Albert Quay.

The outline project has secured a promise of €10m in National Lottery funding and €6m in city council grants. More than 200 jobs hinge on the venue going ahead.

Sunday Independent

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Leaked CETA Treaty: Major Blow to Buy Local | The Tyee

If one country is negotiating a treaty with a union of 27 countries, you might think that those 27 countries would have by far the most people in the negotiations. Not true for CETA: In some negotiations of the free trade deal between Canada and the European Union, Canadians have greatly outnumbered Europeans, one participant told the Tyee.

The reason Canada sent so many people is that the provinces have a say in CETA, and they will be heavily affected by the deal. The treaty will open up public procurement not only at the national level, but also at the provincial and local level. CETA is going much further in this regard than any previous trade agreements signed by Canada.

The outcome isn't what the provinces and municipalities had hoped for. CETA will likely severely crimp if not end "buy local" strategies at all levels of government in Canada.

Many local governments and municipalities have used public tenders to foster a stronger local economy, requiring, for example, that winning bidders employ people in the region. Or governments have tried to strengthen the local food movement, as the city of Toronto does with its local food procurement for public child care.

But with CETA in place, it won't be possible to favour local suppliers when governments buy. Under the rules of free trade, European companies must not be discriminated against.

Thresholds vary

The final documents that leaked yesterday give the outlines of the procurement process, but the crucial details are in the appendix which hasn't yet been published. But inside sources have revealed to the Tyee the precise thresholds, above which tenders will have to follow the CETA rules.

The thresholds above which CETA rules will apply vary depending on the business sector and on the level of government. And they are so low that the lion's share of public contracts will be covered. In the final CETA text, the thresholds are written in the international currency SDR (Special Drawing Rights), a currency the International Monetary Fund uses. In construction, the threshold is set for all levels of government at 5 million SDR, which equals $8.3 million in Canadian dollars.

For other procurements, the threshold for national governments is $130,000 SDR ($217,000 CAD). For provinces and publicly-owned companies the thresholds vary. On average, they are at $200,000 SDR ($335,000 CAD). For local governments, the threshold is the highest at $355,000 SDR ($593,000 CAD).

The CETA deal does not allow splitting contracts into smaller amounts to circumvent the rules. The authors of the text have included a specific clause to prevent such behaviour.

Furthermore, Canada has to establish a common IT platform on which government, provinces and municipalities must list their offers. That might produce additional costs for Canadian governments, but will on the other hand foster transparency in the bidding process. This provision is meant to combat corruption.

The logic driving the opening up of local procurement to bidding by European firms is that it could result in lower costs to taxpayers.

Under the final wording of CETA just leaked, environmental or social considerations can be applied to procurement contracts by public institutions, which still could ask specifically for an environmentally-friendly produced product, as long as the requisition doesn't state that the product has to be local.

The same is true for social considerations. It would be perfectly fine with CETA to require the supplier to include a certain percentage of women or minorities in their staff, though it won't be possible to hire specifically "local" or "Canadian" people.

Water utilities exempted

Water resources are explicitly exempted from CETA, which states: "Each Party has the right to protect and preserve its natural water resources and nothing in this Agreement obliges a Party to permit the commercial use of water for any purpose, including its withdrawal, extraction or diversion for export in bulk."

This may comfort those who worried CETA would force privatization of public water utilities. Consider, however, this further provision: "Where a Party permits the commercial use of a specific water source, it shall do so in a manner consistent with the Agreement."

In other words, once a water utility has been privatized by a Canadian government body, it will be hard to make it public again, because then comes into play another highly controversial part of the CETA treaty, investor rights provisions that would drive up settlement costs.

There is also the question of what happens once water is bottled and used in a commercial context.

In this regard, CETA has fulfilled the fears of many opponents, said Garry Neil, executive director of the Council of Canadians. "Water isn't really protected under CETA," he told The Tyee. "Once a government allows water to be bottled, it's no longer protected.

Toni Saraiva - EISC Ltd - Enterprise Europe -'s insight:

Very alarmist article and probably to be taken with caution as like in the EU, local cannot be favoured directly but plenty of dispositions will in effect favour local companies.

+ imagine the cost of European sending their products to Canada compared to a Canadian company supplying the same products...

A critical look through this article is needed...

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New EU Directives: A Silver Bullet For Government Procurement?

New EU Directives: A Silver Bullet For Government Procurement? | Public Procurement - Europe |

As someone who inhabits the world of public sector procurement, I’ve seen first-hand how hotly anticipated the new public procurement directives have been. The Cabinet Office has highlighted its role in shaping the new directives, emphasising that they will reduce ’red tape’, enhance flexibility and boost small and medium enterprises (SMEs). How, though, will the new directives help realise the government’s objectives?

Reduce red tape - if not the internal red tape

The new directives are designed to facilitate faster and simpler procurement, for example by reducing minimum time limits for bidder responses and requiring only the winning bidder to provide supporting documents.

Although these measures would reduce the workload of bidders and authorities, the real red tape often lies with managerial behaviours (which have less to do with the directives). A typical procurement project – especially for a major deal – has several layers of approval and sometimes requires sign off from third parties. It is commonplace to witness days or weeks of ‘reading and thinking’ time before making a call.

With these levels of administration, it is easy to see how even a relatively straightforward procurement exercise could turn into a Normandy-landing initiative - in other words, a big event – despite the simplified directives.

Increase flexibility - but buyers must still be cautious before closing the competition

The new directives allow "negotiation", and this can be seen as a throwback to pre-2006 and a more relaxed negotiated procedure. This has created a groundswell of excitement because authorities can defer difficult issues until preferred bidder stage, instead of having to resolve them with all bidders before inviting offers.

However, good practice is that all issues should be resolved in a competitive situation to minimise the value of the deal being eroded in contract. Therefore, the idea that we will revert to the pre-2006 practice gives false hope because the final tender stage will be held with all the bidders and negotiation will not be permitted after that point. This means authorities will end up negotiating with all bidders until they are confident that all difficult issues are resolved. In essence, there is no change to current best practice.

Boost SMEs (for the right type of contract)

The expectation is that the new directives will benefit SMEs because authorities will be encouraged to use smaller lots, limit the use of the ’turnover multiple’ test and allow bidders to self-certify their ability.

Of course, we all know that there are potential economic gains from promoting the use of SMEs in government, but as we saw with the Ministry of Justice’s court translation services, using smaller suppliers is not without its risks. It is unrealistic and unconstructive to encourage authorities to ignore these risks in favour of helping smaller businesses. Authorities will need to be aware of the risks when encouraging SMEs to compete for large, complex or high profile contracts – the new directives cannot diminish these risks.

The key to running successful procurement processes remains sticking to the essential basics: well organised plans and processes, a strategy that balances the size of the opportunity with likely players in the market, balanced governance and comprehensive documentation proportionate to the risk or complexity of the contract being let. The new regulations may make small gains around the edges, but are unlikely to bring wholesale change.

Yoon Chung is a government procurement expert at PA Consulting Group

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EU raps State over tendering for new postcodes -

EU raps State over tendering for new postcodes - | Public Procurement - Europe |

THE Government has been criticised by EU authorities after a mistake excluded smaller companies from tendering for the contract to design the country’s new €24m postcode system.


However, despite the error, Irish authorities have escaped with a slap on the wrist and the tender process will not have to be rerun.

The European Commission made the finding after a complaint from Cork businessman Gary Delaney, who runs a GPS technology firm.

He was unable to compete for the project because  his company’s turnover was deemed too low.

As part of the competition, bidding firms had to have an annual turnover of at least €40m.

The commission found that there should have been an allowance for smaller firms to bid as part of consortiums, so they could rely on the combined turnover of consortium members.

A letter sent to the Government by the commission, which has been seen by the Irish Independent, warned that Irish authorities should “avoid similar errors in future” and asked for measures to be put in place to avoid a repeat of the situation, but it did not impose any sanctions. The 10-year contract to manage Eircode was won by professional services company Capita Ireland in January. It is being supported in the project by consultancy firms BearingPoint and Autoaddress.


Despite finding the error, the commission said that it “could not establish any violation of EU public procurement law that would justify the opening of an infringement procedure”.

Meanwhile, the Freight Transport Association of Ireland, an umbrella body which represents 200 firms including parcel delivery giants UPS and FedEx, has written to Communications Minister Alex White expressing concern about the new postcode system, Eircode, which is being rolled out next spring.

Under the plan 2.2m addresses will get a seven-digit code.

The first three digits will be a routing key, which will be shared by many properties in the same area and is aimed at helping in the sorting of mail.

But the last four digits in each code will be random, meaning they will not be sequential for homes which are side by side.

The letter argues that “a sequenced postcode is needed to allow for the more efficient loading of vehicles as well as delivery times”.

It said the planned system will not give consumers improved delivery times nor cheaper delivery costs.

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Decoding jargon: what public servants say and what they actually mean

Decoding jargon: what public servants say and what they actually mean | Public Procurement - Europe |
An ex civil servant shares his A to Z of the sector-specific linguistic shorthand that pours out of the public sector every day


I do it. You do it. All public servants do it.

I'll rephrase that. Our ongoing public service career path progression necessitates the utilisation of sector-specific linguistic shorthand.

Jargon. Don't you love it?

I love it so much I collect it. It's not hard. It pours out of the public sector every day – from politicians, leaders, managers, professionals, even communications staff. In publications, committee reports, press releases, statements written and spoken, on the telly and on the radio, and all over the web.

Here's just a small part of the dictionary of jargon I maintain. First the jargon and then what it actually means.

ability spectrum
as in "the lower end of the ability spectrum", or less able people

bronze commander
how the police describe someone in charge on the ground

carriageway defects
known to most of us as road faults

as in "commence drawdown" – how the military describe leaving Afghanistan

early years practitioners
workers who look after young children

not growing, sometimes found with its friend the 'double dip'

going forward
what simple folk call "in future"

pledging money by law to a specific purpose (I can't resist John Prescott's "speed cameras paid for themselves because we brought hypothecation and you might understand that ...")

also known as a number

job seekers' allowance. Acceptable in a technical discussion but not in a radio interview

just means important

as in my dictionary is lacking an example starting with L. Surely erudite Guardian public leaders will flood me with examples …

a horrible word for someone who is mentored

the opposite of a hotspot – what most people call "no signal"

best. If it's best, just say so

pre-trial confinement capability
how the Pentagon describes a remand prison

what smarty-pants statisticians call a fifth

removing or withholding sensitive or confidential material, or "censorship dressed up with a pretty ribbon", as someone said

stakeholder engagement
also known as consultation

top slicing
removing part of something, usually a budget

upstream interventions
nothing to do with rivers, it simply means early actions

as in "retail voids", or empty shops.

a recession particularly affecting women

For X and Y, see L above

a situation in which the gain of one approach is exactly balanced by the loss of another. It is often used opaquely, as in "the relationship between platform and agile is not zero sum"

We all use jargon without thinking. It's fine as a technical shortcut with colleagues. But please don't use it when you communicate with other people. It often uses more words than needed, obscures meaning, leads to ambiguity and misunderstanding, patronises and annoys people, helps makes public service ineffective and doesn't do your reputation any good.

OK? Has my evidential base been sufficient to engage with you as public sector stakeholders mindful of sector-wide reputational issues?

Roger White tells a white lie in this article. He no longer uses work jargon as he's a former public servant, or as some would have it, a senior. You can check all the jargon he's collected, including where he found it, on his HelpGov blog

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Analysis of SME tenders by Ceri Evans, Institute for Competition and Procurement Studies

Analysis of SME tenders by Ceri Evans, Institute for Competition and Procurement Studies | Public Procurement - Europe |

This is the second part of an article featuring insights from the Institute for Competition and Procurement Studies ( Tender Review Service (TRS), delivered to in excess of 200 SMEs between 2011 and 2013.

Analysis of SME tenders reviewed as part of the TRS identified a number of common weaknesses endemic to many of the submissions; this short article provides a high level overview of some of these shortcomings.

Unsurprisingly many tenderers were guilty of not being prescriptive enough; and not providing the level of depth, detail and evidence required for evaluators to score them highly. Similarly, their lack of attention to contextualising their submissions to the contract specification was a major source of failure, as was their inability to understand things from the procurer perspective and hence respond appropriately to their questions (in particular, in relation to addressing key procurer risk issues).

It was also distinctly apparent that a number of suppliers did not understand the fundamentals of tendering for public sector contracts. Here are some examples for you to think about:

There were many instances where bidders were making the classic mistake of assuming knowledge. In some cases, this was so pronounced that it was the major reason why they were unsuccessful! This assumption of knowledge would manifest itself in various forms, for instance: i) Tenderers making the assumption that evaluators know all about them (their company, their products and services, their track record and their methods of operating), which translated into them only giving minimal detail within their tender submissions, and ii) Suppliers providing only high level statements as to how they would carry out the work and assuming evaluators were aware of the detail and logic behind these statements.Some tenderers would offer to provide additional information if requested and astonishingly this ‘additional information’ would occasionally be tender-critical material! Similarly, some suppliers clearly perceived the onus to be on the procurer to search externally for evidence, rather than to provide it upfront within their submissions.Key information would also sometimes be included in the wrong place within supplier tenders. For instance, there were numerous examples of tenderers including information in responding to one procurer question that was actually far more relevant elsewhere! Given that questions are evaluated on a standalone basis; it is only the bravest suppliers (a euphemism for most foolish!), that should risk being complacent about where they locate particular information within their submissions.Many suppliers clearly did not understand the purpose and difference behind Selection and Award Stage questions. This was evident in those cases where suppliers did not pick up on the significance of the subtle differences in procurer questions between the Selection Stage (that are “backward looking”) and Award questions that are “forward-looking” and designed to understand their “offer”.

Other basic tendering weaknesses prevalent in submissions included SMEs not providing proportional responses (in terms of effort and depth) in relation to the evaluation criteria weightings, and poorly presented bids. It was obvious that the latter would make it difficult for evaluators to pick out key messages and also would give an unflattering representation of the professionalism of the company (perhaps leaving a lingering impression in the mind of evaluators that the contract opportunity was not particularly attractive to the supplier!).

In relation to common weaknesses identified within particular sections of a tender, I will now outline some key findings:

It was evident that many SMEs were poor at selling the benefits of their experience in the context of the contract specification and in particular, in referring to lessons learnt from past contracts that would give evaluators assurance that the supplier would be able to deliver the contract. Many more tenderers could have adopted a case study based approach to demonstrating relevant experience.In addressing team expertise to deliver the contract, the most common failing was to not provide sufficient clarity regarding project roles (i.e. the different roles that would be undertaken; who would be undertaking them and why they are the right individuals to take on these positions).Whilst all TRS beneficiaries were aware of the need to include a methodology statement or provide some sort of explanation of how they proposed to carry out the work that was the subject of the tender, many were not aware of the various elements that form part of a comprehensive methodology statement. For example, some would not refer to the protocols and procedures they would adopt in carrying out the work, whilst others would not include definite project timelines and provide a clear indication of responsibilities for various stages of the work.Where a strong project management section was included within a tender submission, it unfortunately tended to be the exception rather than the rule. There was often little reference to the use of core project management tools and techniques to give evaluators confidence that the work would be delivered on time, to budget and to quality expectations. In addition, very rarely was there any reference to the experience and expertise of the project manager in managing projects effectively in order to provide additional assurance to evaluators.Quality Management was another weak area, particularly from the perspective that whilst tenderers often provided some indication of how they would undertake quality control, they were less proactive in terms of demonstrating how quality is built-in from the beginning. It was also evident that there was typically a lack of proactive reference to the measures SMEs would use in relation to quality management.

In similar fashion to the first of this two part article, this bulletin also only touches the surface with regard to identifying common issues prevalent in many of the SME reviews undertaken as part of the TRS. It is not surprising that these shortcomings were endemic in the submissions we evaluated, given that the Tender Review Report they received from us is probably the first time these suppliers have received a detailed critique of the strengths and weaknesses of their tender! It is also therefore no great mystery that subsequent to our review, many suppliers have doubled their success rate in tendering within a 12 month period.

This is second part of a two part article – the first part to this article highlighted a range of other more general insights that we gained from running the TRS.

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British farmers to benefit from public procurement plan - MeatInfo

British farmers to benefit from public procurement plan  - MeatInfo | Public Procurement - Europe |

Prime Minister, David Cameron has announced a potential £400m boost for British food businesses in a move that has been backed by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).


Cameron told an audience at the Royal Welsh Show today (21 July) that as of 2017 the English public sector will be committed to buying fresh, locally sourced, seasonal food in what is called the Plan for Public Procurement. The public sector currently spends £1.2bn on food and drink, £600m of which is imported produce and, according to the government, £400m of which could be sourced in the UK.

Cameron stated: “Our long-term economic plan is all about backing the do-ers and the hard-workers – and no one does more or works as hard in Britain today than our farmers. By opening up these contracts, we can help them create more jobs, invest in their businesses and make sure people in our country have a healthier lifestyle. It’s a triple win – and will mean a brighter future for our country.”

Public sector buyers will now judge potential suppliers against five key criteria: how food is produced and whether the food was produced locally; the health and nutritional content of food purchased; the resource efficiency of producing the food, such as water and energy use and waste production; how far the food bought meets government’s socio-economic priorities such as involvement of SMES; and quality of service and value for money.

The Plan for Public Procurement states that central government will open up £200m with “the expectation” the rest of the public sector, including schools and hospitals, will also use the criteria. 

Newly appointed environment secretary Elizabeth Truss added: “This move will mean that food served in canteens across the public sector can be more local, seasonal and tastier.”

The plan, based on research by Dr Peter Bonfield’s review into public produce procurement, was applauded by the NFU who have been calling for retailers to promote British beef and lamb. 

The NFU said it was “delighted” with the news. “We applaud the work that Dr Peter Bonfield has done to develop a new architecture for public sector procurement that aims to put more British food on public sector plates. That aim, to grow the amount of locally sourced food and drink, chimes with our own wider aspiration of growing the British farming industry,” said NFU Deputy President Minette Batters.

“Of course saying that more British food is sourced to our standards of production is one thing. To ensure that this happens on the ground, it’s important that public sector buyers and caterers know that they can easily meet the plans aims by simply sourcing food to Red Tractor standards, the widely recognised mark of British food production standards,” Batters concluded.

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PRO-LITE Market-Sounding - Bremen lighting

Toni Saraiva - EISC Ltd - Enterprise Europe -'s insight:

New info on Bremen lighting procurement page 23: ;

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KfW toolbox helps developing countries implement sustainable procurement

KfW toolbox helps developing countries implement sustainable procurement | Public Procurement - Europe |

- On behalf of the German Federal Government and in cooperation with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, KfW Development Bank has produced a Toolbox detailing how to include aspects of sustainability in public procurement procedures for Financial Cooperation projects. The guide places a particular focus on water infrastructure, energy with the focus on renewables, information and communication technologies, buildings and road construction.

“The Toolbox is a valuable resource and an important contribution to sustainable development through better procurement practices. It will support KfW staff and partners to access the benefits inherent in sustainable procurement through a step by step methodology. I strongly encourage those engaged in cooperative funding programmes to consult and utilise the Toolbox,” said Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Capacity Centre.

This guide provides a comprehensive and practical overview of methods and instruments to include sustainability criteria when developing implementation strategies and procuring goods and services. The concepts outlined are broad enough to be adapted to circumstances faced by any kind of procuring authorities in the field of Financial Cooperation.

The Toolbox also supplements advice on embedding sustainability with real-life case studies. The Municipal Wastewater Treatment Project of Samsun (Turkey) is one of many examples featured. The case of Samsun includes life cycle costing approaches in its evaluation, encouraging tenderers to offer long-lasting, low-maintenance plants. This measure, covered in detail in the publication, led to the resource efficient operation of sewage treatment plants.

KfW provides grants from the German Financial Cooperation fund to partner countries, with the aim of helping the countries develop sustainably. The bank oversees the procurement and tendering procedures, and ensures that transparent, fair, non-discriminatory and competitive procedures are complied with. Incorporating sustainability criteria when tendering is an effective way for governments to ensure public works minimise environmental impacts and ensure that products and services leave a positive legacy for future generations.

Undertaken correctly, sustainable procurement has the capacity to stimulate new technology, achieve more efficient public services, create jobs and provide solutions that reduce environmental impacts and are socially responsible. With public procurement accounting for a significant proportion of global spending, ensuring sustainability is embedded in procurement processes can have a positive impact on communities world-wide.

The KfW Toolbox on Sustainable Procurement is available online at

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Russia Bans State Procurement of Foreign-Assembled Cars

Russian state workers might have to say good bye to Mercedes, Lexus, Bentley and other luxurious cars as they are not produced in Russia.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree Monday that prohibits state and municipal procurement of vehicles assembled abroad, Interfax news agency reported.

The move comes amid an intensified standoff between Moscow and the West over the Kremlin’s grab of Ukraine’s Crimea region. Russian lawmakers have already indicated they would like to isolate Russia from the rest of the world by making life harder for global credit card companies Visa and MasterCard. Now they pushing foreign internet companies such as Facebook or to open Russia-based centers for storing personal data.

Mr. Medvedev said that buying vehicles took a large chunk out of the state and municipal budgets and it would be better if Russian rather than foreign producers benefited from the expenditure.

The decree, however, won’t leave Russian bureaucrats and other state workers with Ladas only. Many major car companies are present in Russia and are boosting their car-assembling capacities across the country. This year a Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. joint venture has taken control of Russia’s largest car producer, Avtovaz, while Russian car factory Avtotor and BMW AG have agreed to expand production in Russia’s Kaliningrad region. Many other U.S., European and Asian producers, such as Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Ford, Nissan, Skoda, Toyota, and Volkswagen, have their own assembly plants in Russia, so Russian state workers will be left with plenty of choice.

Foreign auto makers have been striving to increase output in Russia for years, as the country’s auto sales grew and market conditions in Europe deteriorated. Analysts have long predicted that Russia could soon surpass Germany as Europe’s largest auto market, but many now say that won’t happen until at least 2020 as car sales have been hit by a sharp slowdown in the country’s economy triggered by Western sanctions.

Mr. Medvedev is not the first top official to strive to change Russian car preferences. In late 2012, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, called on Moscow’s diocesan assembly to be more moderate and less wasteful in vehicle purchases.

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Government departments and councils would be able to exclude profit-making private companies from tendering for some public contracts under plans unveiled by Labour to boost social enterprises.

Under the scheme, some contracts could be reserved for non-profit community-focused organisations with a public service mission.

Labour's social enterprise spokeswoman Chi Onwurah said the move would help organisations which feel "locked out" of a tendering process dominated by a small number of large private companies.

Ms Onwurah said Labour will use new EU procurement rules which came into effect in January and allow the Government and local authorities to reserve the award of some three-year contracts exclusively to organisations "in the pursuit of a public service mission".

In 2013, a Social Enterprise UK survey found that 34% of social enterprises cited procurement policy as a major barrier to their operations - up from 25% in 2011.

At an event hosted by Collaborate and E3M, Ms Onwurah said: "Public procurement remains a significant and growing concern for many social enterprises who feel locked out. Many public service sectors are now dominated by the same big companies.

"We want to make it easier for not-for-profit, community-focused organisations to win government contracts. And to help drive this, a Labour government in 2015 will enable departments to offer some contracts exclusively for organisations in the pursuit of a public service mission.

"We want to draw on the innovation of social enterprises. Rooted in their communities, social enterprises can identify new, effective and enterprising ways of delivering public services."

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Government invites tenders for Emergency Services Network

The government has invited several businesses to tender for the new Emergency Services Network, to replace the existing emergency services systems, currently provided by Airwave Solutions, which will expire in 2016.

The ESN falls under the auspices of the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme, a Home Office-led, cross-departmental programme that aims to provide cheaper and smarter network services for ambulance, fire and police services.


Incumbent Airwave Solutions, which washeavily criticised over potentially dangerous gaps in coverage on a £2.9bn digital radio communications system it supplied to the police, has been invited to tender on lots two, three and four.

Other firms selected include EE, HP Enterprise Services, KPMG and Vodafone.

The new contract, worth between £555m and £1.2bn, will require new providers to migrate the emergency services from legacy mobility solutions to the new national mobile communication services.

The four lots on the new contract are:

ESN Delivery Partner, providing transition support, cross-lot integration and support, programme management services, training support, test assurance and vehicle installation design and assurance.ESN User Services, providing end-to-end technical integration services, public safety comms services, telecoms infrastructure, device management, customer support and service management.ESN Mobile Services, providing a resilient mobile network with highly available full coverage across the country, extended coverage over the lot four telecoms network and technical interfaces to lots two and four.ESN Extension Services, providing coverage beyond the lot three network and enabling the lot three supplier to extend coverage.

The government also expects to require an enhanced commercial service network for broadband data delivery which – if needed for voice – will grant emergency services priority over other users, avoiding the necessity for a separate mobile radio spectrum.

The finished network will cover around 250,000 operational staff and associated devices, 44 police and crime commissioners and services, 50 fire and rescue authorities and services, 13 ambulance services, the National Crime Agency, the British Transport Police, the MoD Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, and the National Police Air Service.


More than 400 other bodies that interact with the emergency services regularly may need the ability to use the ESN, potentially adding 50,000 further connected devices. Such organisations could include central or local government departments, non-departmental public bodies and agencies, local authorities, and even NGOs.

“Interest in providing the new emergency services network and its supporting elements has been strong with 34 organisations completing in-depth pre-qualification questionnaires,” said the minister for state, policing, criminal justice and victim, Damian Green.

“After rigorous evaluation by the Home Office and representatives of the emergency services we are now inviting those organisations we consider to be best suited to tender formally for the work.

“We remain on track to deliver this key part of our critical national infrastructure by the end of 2016 and today marks another step towards the emergency services having the modern communications network they need to protect the public and save lives.”

Tenders will have to be submitted in the autumn of this year, with contracts to be awarded in 2015. The government hopes the new ESN will begin to go live in 2016, and be fully-deployed the following year.



Lot 1: Atkins; Kellogg, Brown and Root; KPMG; Lockheed Martin UK; Mott MacDonald

Lot 2: Airwave Solutions, Astrium, CGI IT UK, HP Enterprise Services UK ; Motorola Solutions UK

Lot 3: Airwave Solutions, EE, Telefonica UK, UK Broadband Networks, Vodafone

Lot 4: Airwave Solutions, Arqiva, EE, Telefonica UK, Vodafone

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