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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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New EU procurement rules to come into force by early 2015 | Supply Management

The UK government plans to transpose the new EU procurement directives in three stages, with the first in early 2015.

Ed Green, deputy director of EU and domestic procurement policy at the Crown Commercial Service, told a conference the directive covering public contracts was the priority. “We want the directive to be in force by early 2015,” he said.

Speaking at the Government Procurement Summit in London, Green said the directive covering utilities would be transposed in the summer of 2015 and the one covering concessions by April 2016, the deadline by which the directives must be incorporated into national law.

He said a key emphasis of the new rules was to encourage public sector buyers to focus more on market engagement and contract management.

“Procurement is a strategic priority to drive public service reform, support economic growth and tackle the deficit,” said Green.

“You can drive much more value by engaging with the market pre-procurement and in contract management. The new rules should help with that. That’s where we want to see a step change.”

The new rules include a cap on turnover requirements for bidders, set at double the value of the contract, but Green said for some contracts such requirements would not be necessary. “We have to be careful it doesn’t become a norm,” he said.

“We hope the procurement rules are in keeping with the messages from the Crown Commercial Service about the need to free ourselves from solely focusing on the legalistic bit in the middle, which is important to get right, but isn’t where the value is.”

Martin Reeves, national procurement champion for local government and chief executive at Coventry City Council, said of the directives: “We can either see them as an opportunity for transformation and innovation or we can be hamstrung as we were in the past.”
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Opposition proposes changes to draft amendment on public procurement - The Slovak Spectator

OPPOSITION MPs have introduced their plans to change the amendment to the law on public procurement passed by the government on November 27. The new rules should prevent shell companies with unclear ownership structure from obtaining public tenders.
If Robert Fico’s government really wants to fight the participation of shell companies in public competitions, it should incorporate into its bill a requirement to disclose the end beneficiary, independent MP Daniel Lipšic said at a joint press conference with MP Igor Matovič (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities – OĽaNO), independent MP Alojz Hlina and MEP Richard Sulík (Freedom and Solidarity – SaS) on November 24.
“The prime minister has called on the opposition to contribute towards revamping the bill on shell companies,” Lipšic said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “His bill can be easily bypassed, however.”
He and his colleagues propose that the participants in a public tender should be obliged to present “a statutory declaration concerning who will be the end beneficiary, and in the case of success in the tender they would have to present confirmation from a bank relating to who has really received the benefits,” as reported by TASR.
At a separate press conference on the same day, Most-Híd MP Lucia Žitňanská announced that she is also preparing an amending proposal to the government’s bill along with Sieť vice-chairman Miroslav Beblavý in order to disclose the end beneficiaries whenever public money is involved, TASR wrote.
According to Fico, there are three categories of companies that should not be allowed to feature in public tenders. The first concerns firms registered in countries in which the country cannot learn about their real owners. Second concerns Slovak companies with shareholders based in the aforementioned countries, “with these companies unwilling to disclose who they are”. The third category involves Slovak firms that feature public officials as owners or co-owners.
“If they have more than 10 percent of the shares, such a company will be excluded from public tenders,” Fico claimed, as quoted by TASR
The draft amendment should allow only companies that are able to disclose their owners up to the level of private individuals to take part in public tenders. The only exception will be companies listed on stock exchanges in the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and their subsidiaries.
Bidders who provide false information regarding their ownership may be fined between €1,000-10,000.
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Innovation procurement - The Governance Lab @ NYU

Innovation Procurement enables the public sector to modernize its services while saving costs and creating market opportunities for the companies in Europe. This workshop was organised on 7 October 2014 during the Open Days 2014 under the title “Make use of the enabling button for Innovation Procurement (PCP/PPI) to tackle societal challenges in Europe”….

Ms Lieve Bos (European Commission DG CONNECT) presented the importance and potential of pre-commercial procurement (PCP) and public procurement of innovative solutions (PPI) to modernize public services in Europe while creating market opportunities for companies. She presented the funding schemes in H2020 that  co-finance the preparation, coordination and the execution of PCP and PPI Procurements. 130M Euro of EU funding is currently available (deadlines for proposals in 2015) to support Innovation Procurements implementation in many domains of public interest. …

Mr Peter Asché (Uniklinik Rwth Aachen, Germany) presented the Thalea Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) project that is challenging providers to develop new innovative solutions for remote decision support to intensive care units through an interoperable telemedicine platform. Mr.Asché stressed that the project attracted considerable market interest with 23 companies from 5 different Member States participating to the open market consultation that preceded the publication of the Thalea PCP call for tender.

Mr van Berlo (Smart Homes, The Netherlands) presented the Stop and Go Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) project that aims at deploying cost-effective, sustainable and innovative solutions for telecare for elderly. A transnational procurement in four Member States will enable the participant organizations to purchase innovative solutions with clear clinical and social outcomes creating in that way economies of scale that will benefit the procurers and the market and contributing at the same time to standardization. 

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Scotland's answer to economic woe: public procurement

Scotland's answer to economic woe: public procurement | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
At £178bn a year UK public procurement – what the government spends on goods and services – represents the greatest opportunity there is for investment in UK economic development. David Cameron’s article in the Guardian about global threats to the UK economy should be a wake-up call to take advantage of this opportunity.

Scotland gets it. At a recent conference for Scottish procurement specialists, John Swinney, cabinet secretary for finance, employment and sustainable growth in the Scottish government, said public procurement “can support and encourage social, economic and environmental priorities of government”. The importance the Scottish government attaches to public procurement was illustrated by a turnout of more than 500 procurement personnel. No UK government and English public procurement events attract that level of interest, despite a combined procurement spend 17 times greater.


The current UK government has made more progress than any of its predecessors on the effective management of its £178bn procurement spend. Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude should take much of the credit for this. The creation of the Crown Commercial Service and the Major Projects Authority were big steps forward. There have been more initiatives than ever to support social and economic growth through, for example, increasing the amount of central government business with small and medium sized businesses. The Ministry of Justice is putting much emphasis on social objectives such as rehabilitation into some of its new contracts.

And local government is playing its part. The Social Value Act requires social considerations to be taken into account in local government contracting. There is a postcode lottery: some councils just pay lip service, but others such as Halton borough council successfully focus on creating local employment through their contracts.

But all this does not amount to a strategy for delivering the UK government’s economic, social and environmental priorities.

The approach of the Scottish government is much more akin to a strategy and includes some interesting initiatives. The new Scotrail franchise and the government catering contract expect suppliers to pay their employees a living wage. Suppliers are given to understand that a well motivated workforce is likely to deliver better contracts. Some 99% of the public sector is signed up to the national electricity contract – 100% renewable energy. NHS Scotland has been persuaded to buy some of its uniforms from sheltered workshops. Yes, prices are 7% higher than from factories in south China, but the overall benefits make it worthwhile. By comparison, the closure of the Remploy workshops in England has left many disabled people unemployed.

Public procurement in Scotland is just £10bn, but it has created 3,500 apprenticeships and training positions, testament to the capability and drive of Alastair Merrill, the procurement and commercial director. Also, because 60% of procurement spend goes through a national purchasing system, there is a better understanding of where the money goes. This is essential for good economic planning.

So, what needs to happen? First, the UK government needs to articulate clearly its economic, social and environmental priorities. Next, it needs to align procurement priorities with them. Thirdly, it needs to work with the various parts of the UK public sector to develop a meaningful procurement strategy to deliver those priorities. Such a strategy would include initiatives already underway, but much more needs to be done. The chancellor’s autumn statement at the end of November provides an opportunity to announce such a strategy.
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Mystery shopper drafted in to probe VAR’s procurement gripe

Mystery shopper drafted in to probe VAR’s procurement gripe | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
A controversial IT tender is being investigated by the government's mystery shopper scheme after a small reseller criticised the procurement process for being unfriendly towards SMBs.
Last week, CCL's managing director Dennis Armstrong branded the government's IT procurement process "outrageous" after being presented with an Invitation To Tender (ITT) document which was 92 pages long despite being for a relatively small deal of £10,000. He claimed that reams of red tape are cutting SMBs out of government deals, which was echoed by other smaller firms.
At the time, the government admitted there is more to be done to improve procurement for SMBs but insisted it was cutting the amount of administration involved.
After seeing the CRN article, the government contacted Armstrong and asked him to take part in its mystery shopper scheme in order to investigate the tender in question.
"Having seen the online article we were concerned this was an issue that needs to be looked into, to prevent it from deterring SMEs to public sector procurement," a mystery shopper team member said in an email to Armstrong.
The scheme was set up in 2011 and aims to investigate procurement across the government and to help suppliers that have experienced poor practice. It claims that SMBs in particular have made "good use" of the scheme and that 79 per cent of the cases it investigated resulted in a positive outcome.
On top of this, as part of the project, the government carries out spot checks across public sector procurement where 20 tender documents are checked each month for any issues. The government publishes the outcome of its investigations on its website, but suppliers can remain anonymous if they wish to.
Armstrong accepted the government's offer to investigate the tender in question but remains sceptical about the outcome.
"I don't think really what they do makes much difference if you look at the answers which come back [on the website]," he said. "A lot of [the complaints] were given flannel, in my opinion, in the answers. It's me being cynical perhaps.
"But if they reduce the 92 pages to 24 then that would be a good start, but I doubt very much it will have any impact at all."
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– Greater opportunities for SMEs in €12 billion public procurement market

- Only 14% of SMEs bid for public sector work in last 12 months -

SMEs need to be encouraged to avail of the €12 billion public procurement market that was the message from InterTradeIreland at the annual ‘Meet the Buyer’ event at CityWest in Dublin today (12th November 2014). The event, attended by a record 1,000 small and medium enterprises and 150 buyers from across the public sector, north and south, focussed on the opportunities for SMEs with major public sector buyers across the island. Key buyers that attended included the Office of Government Procurement,  Health Service Executive, , Central Bank of Ireland, , NI Water and ESB Networks who met directly with small business owners to raise awareness of the kinds of service they tender for, forthcoming opportunities and how they tender.

Despite the opportunities in this sector, InterTradeIreland’s most recent Business Monitor, indicated that only 14% of SMEs across the island have bid on a public sector tender in the last 12 months, with less than a quarter of firms surveyed having bid for a tender on a cross-border basis in the opposite jurisdiction.

The Meet the Buyer event was delivered in partnership with the Office of Government Procurement, Central Procurement Directorate, Enterprise Ireland, Invest NI and the Strategic Investment Board.

Opening the event Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Public Procurement Simon Harris said:

“Public procurement represents a huge opportunity for SMEs. Aside from capital projects, the State spends about €23 million a day on purchasing goods and services. This is a significant contribution to the domestic economy and today’s event reiterates the Government’s commitment and that of the new Office of Government Procurement to supporting and up-skilling SMEs to engage with public procurement and compete for this business. Moreover, businesses that are successful in winning public contracts often win repeat business and, given the consistent nature of public procurement processes, are then well placed to win public business abroad.”

As well as engaging directly with key buyers, specialists were also on hand to give workshops to SMEs on consortia building and lessons in tendering.  SME’s also had the opportunity to attend the eTenders/eSourcing NI demo and clinic.  Representatives from key business agencies also advised SMEs on current funding opportunities and business supports available.

Margaret Hearty, Acting CEO for InterTradeIreland said: “Events like Meet the Buyer give SMEs the edge in the public procurement process. The high turnout at today’s Meet the Buyer event highlights the appetite from SMEs to learn about the changing public procurement structure and tendering process.  And while there is pressure on public expenditure, there are still significant opportunities for SMEs.’ She added: “InterTradeIreland is committed to equipping SMEs with the skills needed to successfully compete in the public procurement process. To date over 1,500 SMEs have directly benefitted from the Meet the Buyer events. Meet the Buyer is just one of the tendering supports offered by InterTradeIreland. We have developed a comprehensive suite of specific tendering supports, including a dedicated ‘consortia facilitator’ to help SMEs form a consortia and compete for larger contracts. I would encourage SMEs to visit our website to avail of the free InterTradeIreland tendering supports available.”

The Chief Procurement Officer and CEO of the Office of Government Procurement. Mr. Paul Quinn said;

“The Office of Government Procurement’s goal is to ensure that it gets easier for businesses to engage with public procurement while at the same time driving improved value for money for the tax-payer. One of the key pillars of OGP support for SMEs is pro-active engagement and education. We work closely with Enterprise Ireland and InterTrade Ireland in building awareness of public procurement and delivering support for small suppliers in bidding for public contracts.  Events such as this ‘Meet the Buyer’ event are a key part of that support – they provide a platform for suppliers to meet with public sector buyers to better understand how public procurement works and the relevance of their goods or services.” 

SMEs interested in obtaining further information on tendering for public procurement contracts and further procurement advice should go to www.intertradeireland.com/public-procurement ; where they can also download useful tender alert apps. Information is also available on the website on InterTradeIreland’s Award Winning Go-2-Tender Programme to support SMEs on how to write successful tenders and ultimately win new public sector procurement contracts.

-ENDS-

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Consultants 'exasperated' after £750m framework scrapped

Consultants that bid for the scrapped £750m government framework have said they are exasperated” that the competition will be run again and are considering legal action to recoup their costs.

Earlier today public sector procurement service UK SBS has announced it will cancel the long-delayed £750m consultants framework just weeks after Turner & Townsend (T&T) agreed to halt its legal challenge against it.

The troubled Project Management and Full Design Team Services framework had originally been due to go live in June 2013 but has been dogged by delays and was eventually awarded in June this year.

However, shortly after the winners of the framework were announced Turner & Townsend (T&T) launched a legal challenging alleging that “price manipulation” had taken place by some of the bidders.

The case was “stayed” last month but today UK SBS said that following consultation with the Crown Commercial Service, part of the Cabinet Office, it had decided that the “appropriate course” of action was to “not proceed” with the framework.

Speaking to Building Ann Bentley, chair of consultant Rider Levett Bucknall, which missed out on a place on the framework said the decision to scrap it was “the right decision” but that she “felt sore” about the whole process.

She added: “The bidding costs are an enormous amount of money for the sector to write off.

“Some of this [procurement] was just poor, really poor. Someone ought to be held accountable for that. Someone needs to give an explanation and say that they are really sorry.

“The whole construction sector invested around £5m into this to no effect.”

She said RLB’s bid costs were around £100,000 and that the firm would consider taking action to recoup some of that cost. However, she added that doing so would tie up further resources.

Another consultant that missed out on the framework, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Building: “I can’t believe it. What an unbelievable waste of money.”

One of the consultants that won a place on the framework, who did not wish to be named, said they were “exasperated” that the competition would have to be run again.

They added that they were “not optimistic” that there would be progress before the general election in May 2015 and they didn’t expect any awards of the framework until this time next year.

In its statement announcing that the framework had been scrapped this morning UK SBS said: “We recognise the significant time and effort put in by all suppliers participating in the competition for PMFDTS.

“We believe that this decision provides the best way forward for ensuring that we are able to obtain the very best value for customers and taxpayers.”

It said the decision was taken, in part, because the Crown Commercial Service had decided to establish a “Buildings” category that would “offer a centralised commercial and procurement service for public sector construction projects”.

It said feedback from suppliers on the “design of the agreement” was also a factor.
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Let’s get Europe’s SMEs involved in public sector procurement | Policy Review

There used to be quite a tradition of awarding monolithic public sector contracts to huge, international generalist companies, quite often at the expense of home-grown small to medium sized businesses, writes Pedro Paulo.

This was (and arguably still is) something that impacted every sector of industry despite efforts to address the situation. It is something both the national UK government and the wider EU legislative body sought to redress, and the enthusiasm for the adoption of reform has demonstrated the clear need for reform that existed.

The UK government’s aspiration that “25 per cent of central government procurement spend, by value,” should flow to SMEs by 2015 has, unfortunately, run into some trouble and has largely failed to meet its targets. However, plans by the Cabinet Office remain strong and the target may yet be met. What is driving this growth in business to the SME sector, is an enthusiastic adoption of plans to reform the public sector procurement process. The UK Government adopted reform plans far in advance of the EU directive which impacts the rest of the Union, and so can be seen as a good case study not only on the difficulties of implementation, but also on the need for early planning for adoption to work out any impairments to the process that may arise.

Beginning with an announcement of intent in April 2011, this EU directive (Public Sector Directive) came into effect on April 17th 2014 and seeks to simplify procurement rules, introduce flexibility to the process, and most importantly reduce the time and cost of administration for all companies competing for a public sector contract. The European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) is designed to make it significantly easier for SMEs (and larger groups) to bid for public contracts. The scale of this ambition is seen in the stated aim to reduce administration by up to 80 per cent in the process.

In addition, the new directives will see public sector bodies required to break large contracts into smaller lots. This should not only make them more accessible to SMEs but also, according to European Commission estimates, save them up to 60 percent of current bidding costs.

UK SMEs (and public bodies) in particular stand to benefit from the reforms proposed in the directive. In the run up to its implementation, Gatewit commissioned research from CEBR (Centre for Economic and Business Research) into the European procurement market. According to the report, the average cost of a UK procurement competition in the public sector is £45,200 which, at 90 percent more expensive than the EU average of £23,900, makes it the highest in the European Union. At £1,260 per tender, 58 percent higher than the EU average of £800, the UK is also one of the most expensive countries in Europe for public sector bodies to attract bids from potential suppliers in a competitive process. Only Denmark, Norway and Italy record higher costs.

As well as this, the report found that the UK’s public sector procurement process takes 53 days longer than the EU average, something that will undoubtedly contribute to the high overall cost of the process in these isles.

These figures set out quite clearly why some of the smaller companies in the UK and elsewhere may feel a reticence in making applications in a public body procurement competition. Regardless of industry, competing with companies whose opportunity cost as a percentage of overall spending is much lower simply isn’t an attractive option.

All of the above costs and problems make it clear why reform was needed. It means that tenders for contracts are, mainly, submitted by a limited pool of larger businesses as they are the only ones able to participate in a competition. This leaves the public sector with a restricted and potentially more costly choice of potential suppliers. The new directives and the reusable nature of the ESPD enable a bidding company to spread the cost of entering a contract competition through other similar processes, resulting in an overall saving. This is done through reusing some of the information submitted in previous competitions in new and related processes.

With 99.9 per cent of the UK’s 4.5 million businesses being SMEs (with a total estimated turnover of £1,500bn) the benefits are clear. Regardless of business sector or industry, a lot of companies in that group will, at some stage, need to compete in a public sector procurement competition. The government’s aims to promote SMEs do, admittedly, have a long way to go. But their strong start, combined with the powerful new EU directives and the ESPD, have put us on the right road. One that will ultimately be built by smaller companies.

Pedro Paulo is CEO of Gatewit 
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Simpler procurement rules on public tenders of up to €15 million

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

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

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

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

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

 

SUPPLY Lincolnshire's series of two workshops include:

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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The Innovation Procurement Conference will be held in Milan in November

On 26 and 27 November 2014 a high level conference on Innovation Procurement will be held under the auspices of the Italian Presidency in Milan, in collaboration with the Lombardy Region of Italy.
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The aim of the conference is to bring together procurers and key stakeholders from several  domains of public interest to discuss possible collaborations and networking in view of the H2020 future calls on Innovation Procurement.

The agenda will be published and the registration will be open at the beginning of September.

Please note that if you have logged in with your ECAS account, you can subscribe to the Innovation procurement page to receive regular updates on news and events.
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German defence ministry and arms industry come under fire - FT.com

German defence ministry and arms industry come under fire - FT.com | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it

The German defence ministry and arms industry are braced for a hard-hitting report expected to highlight “mistakes on all sides” in their repeated failure to deliver military equipment on budget and on time.
The review by KPMG, the consultancy, due to be published on Monday, is expected to recommend changes in policy and procedure in both the ministry’s procurement offices and at defence companies, according to one person familiar with the industry.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily, the report will identify “140 problems and risks”, including overworked officials, imprecise contracts and confused responsibilities. It will call for an urgent overhaul that could take “at least two years” to implement.
The analysis was commissioned in June by defence minister Ursula von der Leyen, a high-profile conservative sometimes seen as a potential successor to chancellor Angela Merkel. Her ability to reform procurement will be viewed as a key political test.
The report comes after a string of embarrassing technical failures that have highlighted problems caused by delays in introducing new equipment and providing spare parts.
Two weeks ago, Germany’s first shipment of arms to Iraq’s Kurds, to help in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), was delayed when the designated transport plane broke down. The defective aircraft was Dutch but was leased because of the lack of a suitable German aircraft. Ms von der Leyen was left with a PR fiasco, flying to Erbil, the regional Kurdish capital, for a ceremonial handover of weapons that had yet to arrive.
Last week, a German transport plane en route to Senegal to assist in the battle against the Ebola outbreak in west Africa was stranded in the Canary Islands because of a defect.
And a few days later it emerged that a contingent of troops in Afghanistan could not return to Germany for want of a transport aircraft.
Meanwhile, German MPs commissioned a report two weeks ago that showed large swaths of equipment were out of action because of shortages of spare parts. Only 24 out of 43 Transall C-160 transport planes were operational, as were 41 of 190 helicopters, 42 of 109 Eurofighter fighters and 280 out of 406 Marder fighting vehicles.
Last week, Germany disclosed that there was a technical problem even with those Eurofighters that were operational – a fault in the finishing of drill holes in the fuselages, made by BAE Systems in the UK, which also affects the aircraft belonging to other countries. The jets remain in service while BAE investigates the issue. But the revelation has added to public unease in Germany about defence procurement.
Ms von der Leyen says Berlin can fulfil any short-term crisis-response Nato commitments and manage its current foreign deployments. Some 3,700 German soldiers are serving abroad of a total 180,000. But she acknowledged in German media last week that the country was falling short on a general pledge to Nato to have a certain proportion of its forces ready for combat.
Germany’s defence budget is 1.3 per cent of its gross domestic product, short of Nato’s 2 per cent target (fulfilled only by the US, the UK, Greece and Estonia). But money alone is not the issue – last year €1.3bn of the $6bn equipment budget went unspent.
KPMG is focusing on nine procurement projects, including the Eurofighter, the Eurohawk drone, the Tiger and NH90 helicopters, and the A400M transport plane, under development by Airbus.
The A400M is in the spotlight because a five-year delivery delay has forced Germany to rely on the 50-year-old Transall transporter, which often breaks down.
Germany’s Social Democrats have pointed the finger at their CDU/CSU coalition partners, saying that Ms von der Leyen and her three most recent predecessors as defence minister are all members of Ms Merkel’s CDU.
But defence analysts root the problems in an unwieldy arms-purchasing bureaucracy, lack of competition in the industry and the pressure to develop Europe-wide projects, such as the A400M, which fall under the influence of multiple rival governments.

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Meet the buyers event

Meet the buyers event | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it

Rampion Meet the Buyer event, 29th January 2015, Sussex


Rampion Meet the Buyer event focusing on Onshore Cabling and Substation suppliers, 29th January 2015 at a venue to be confirmed but likely to be in the East Worthing/Lancing area.

Following the success of the Rampion Meet the Buyer event held in February at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, E.ON has committed to hold three further events with each focused on a particular aspect of the wind farm. The aim of this series of events is to highlight the potential opportunities arising from the Rampion construction and operation, that may benefit local suppliers based in East and West Sussex, Kent, Surrey and Hampshire.

The first event is aimed at suppliers of products and services that may be able to support the onshore cabling and substation construction. You will hear from E.ON's contract managers and prospective lead suppliers and installers and there will be plenty of opportunity for networking.

We will announce details of the other two events in due course, which will focus on offshore balance of plant and operations & maintenance respectively.

Full details of the events will be circulated to the Marine South East and Sussex Wind Energy websites.

You can register your interest by clicking http://www.marinesoutheast.co.uk/make_booking/?id=3428 

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Estonia to buy 44 combat vehicles from Holland in the largest procurement ever

The Estonian cabinet today gave a green light to buy 44 CV90 infantry vehicles for the Estonian Defense Forces from the Netherlands, in what is the largest defense procurement project ever for the country.
Defense Minister Sven Mikser and his Dutch counterpart Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert signed a memorandum of joint intent with regard to using the CV90 vehicles, currently used by the Netherland’s armed forces, in the Estonian Defense Forces in October, but today it got the final approval. The contract will be signed on December 9 in Holland.

Previously, the largest Estonian defense procurement projects were the purchase of MBDA-made Mistral missiles for about $84.5 million in 2009, and three Sandown-class milehunter vessels from the UK Royal Navy for about $64 million in 2007.

“It is the largest procurement project ever for the Estonian Defense Forces. The infantry vehicles will take Estonian defense ability to a new level,” Mikser said, but refusing to disclose the cost before the signing of the contract.

The CV90s will enter the service from 2016 and are expected to remain in use for at least 20 years. The vehicles have been used by the Dutch, but are relatively new.

The CV90 infantry vehicle is produced since 1993 by Sweden-based BAE Systems Hägglunds AB and are in service with the Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swiss, Finnish, and Swedish defense forces. It has also seen service in Afghanistan.

The Dutch minister announced during her visit to Estonia in October that defense cooperation between the two countries will be strengthened. Among other things, Dutch troops will take part in the next Estonian Independence Day parade and hold joint exercises with the Scoutsbattalion.

Mikser said that the Netherlands had a clear desire to further strengthen defense cooperation with Estonia. Among other things, the Netherlands is contributing to Baltic Air Policing.

"Such cooperation has such a great political and practical importance – having common armoured vehicles, we can work closely with the Netherlands in maintaining, repairing and training for these vehicles," Mikser said.

Estonian-Dutch defense cooperation has mainly been focused on procurement. Since 2004, Estonia has acquired over 1,100 lightly used and well-maintained trucks and jeeps, some 500 trailers and staff containers and 81 SISU XA-188 armoured personnel carriers. Dutch F-16s have also taken part in Baltic Air Policing.
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UK government consults on transposition of the new procurement Directive: what else do you need to know? | Lexology

In September, the Cabinet Office issued for consultation a draft version of the intended implementing regulations for the new Public Procurement Directive (Directive 2014/24).  The Regulations will, when passed, become the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. The consultation closed on 17 October 2014 and the Cabinet Office is now considering responses. However, given the tight timetables to which the Cabinet Office is working, we are not expecting it to make very significant changes in the final version of the Regulations.  

Much has been written about the new Directive and Regulations, and many of you will be familiar with some of the headline changes, such as changes to the procurement processes that are available and the codification of the Pressetext case law on post-contract modifications. However, there are some other key changes that will have a significant impact for authorities and bidders, but which have been less widely reported. Many of these have now been further specified by the Cabinet Office in its draft Regulations. These include the following:

The authority must either include an express right of termination in three specified circumstances, or the new Regulations will 'deem' a right for authorities to terminate (having given notice) in the same circumstances, being:
Where the contract has been subject to a substantial modification which would have required a new procurement procedure (what would currently be referred to as a 'material change');
If the contract has at the time of contract award satisfied one of the mandatory grounds for exclusion and so should have been excluded; and
If the European Court of Justice has declared that the contract should not have been awarded to the contractor in view of a serious infringement of the Treaty obligations and the Directive.
This new provision (which arises from the Directive) will be a key risk for bidders. The Regulations do at least provide that the terms in the contract may provide for a notice of termination and may address consequential matters arising – that is something bidders will need to manage going forward.

The Cabinet Office has chosen to implement the changes to the mandatory and discretionary grounds for exclusions of bidders in the way that gives an authority the most flexibility. An authority will still, in the circumstances described below, be able to put through a bidder which satisfies a mandatory ground for exclusion, and the Cabinet Office has chosen not to specify any of the discretionary grounds for exclusion as mandatory requirements. However, the new rules are nonetheless inherently stricter, leaving bidders more likely to be excluded. For example:
they provide that the authority may only disregard a mandatory ground for exclusion "on an exceptional basis, for overriding reasons relating to the public interest such as public health or protection of the environment" whereas the current regime permits the exercise of the same discretion where there are "overriding requirements in the general interest". 
there is a longer, and more easily satisfied, list of discretionary grounds for exclusion, such as breach of competition law, compliance with tax, poor past performance and conflicts of interest. 
the authority will also have the obligation (subject to overriding reasons) to exclude a bidder if it satisfies one of the mandatory grounds for exclusion at any point during the procurement procedure and the discretion to do so in respect of discretionary grounds for exclusion
The new 'light-touch' regime which the Cabinet Office is proposing to implement (which will apply to some of the current Part B services valued at about €750,000) is extremely light-touch and in practice, other than the requirement to publish contract notices, seems unlikely to make a significant difference to the procurement of these services going forward. In any event a key category of authority who currently rely heavily on the Part B exemption, being clinical commissioning groups, will remain under the current regime until April 2016. One key point to note about the way in which the Cabinet Office has implemented the new 'light-touch' regime is that a failure to advertise relevant services valued at about €750,000 would mean that the contract is subject the ineffectiveness remedy. 
There will be new matters to which authorities will be obliged to have regard before every regulated procurement they undertake. In particular, they will need to think about whether the contract should be divided into lots, and to justify in writing their decision not to divide it into lots if not. They will also need to consider the security levels required for the information involved in that procurement. 
Also of note from the draft Regulations are certain provisions which do not arise from the new Directive, but are instead measures intended to assist SME participation in procurement procedures, on which the Cabinet Office had previously consulted. These are likely to have a significant impact:

there will be rules requiring authorities to advertise below threshold contracts above a certain value (albeit not in the Official Journal) and prohibiting them from using a PQQ for such contracts;
a provision which requires authorities for all regulated procurements to "have regard to any guidance issued by the Minister for the Cabinet Office in relation to the qualitative selection of economic operators", and to send a report explaining any deviation from such guidance. It is understood that the intention is to implement a standard PQQ across the public sector;
Contracting authorities will be obliged to pay undisputed invoices within 30 days and to require that similar obligations are flowed down in the contract between the main contractor and any subcontractors (and onwards, throughout the supply chain). 
The Cabinet Office does not specify when it expects the Regulations to be passed but, as the draft Regulations have been named the '2015' Regulations, we expect it to be early next year. We are following developments closely and would be very keen to hear of any thoughts, comments or concerns you have about the new Directive.

Finally, in July this year, we published a paper that set out the choices that the Cabinet Office would have to make in transposing the new Directive, and addressed what we thought would be the likely position taken in the UK regulations. We have reviewed the draft Regulations and the consultation document, and have added a column to our original paper which sets out the actual approach taken by the Cabinet Office on the choices we identified.  In general the choices, as we expected, reflect the current government's policy aim of avoiding gold-plating and of allowing maximum flexibility for contracting authorities. In the majority of cases, the choice taken reflects the conclusion we drew from the discussion papers issued by the Cabinet Office. That paper can be found here.
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Hungary latest EU nation to sign Joint Procurement Agreement

Hungary latest EU nation to sign Joint Procurement Agreement | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
Hungary this week became the 18th European Union (EU) country to sign the Joint Procurement Agreement to procure medical countermeasures.

The 2009 outbreak of H1N1 pandemic influenza, also known as avian flu, showcased a weakness in the development, production and distribution of necessary medication and vaccines to affected areas, leading to the creation of new measures for procuring these items.

The agreement said EU member states may engage in joint procurement procedures so that appropriate levels of treatment measures are available in case of an outbreak or to prevent one altogether.

The stipulations allow the purchase of enough vaccinations and medication to treat pandemic diseases, and sufficient amounts of these will be available to participating countries. In addition, member states are treated equally and could benefit from contractual conditions, depending on the specific situation.

The agreement also covers the legality and procedures to procure necessary medication. Fourteen countries signed the agreement initially in June, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Latvia, Greece, Slovenia, Estonia, Cyprus, Croatia and Belgium. Luxembourg, Romania, Italy and Hungary signed on later.

France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland have not signed the agreement.
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EU to PH: Fight corruption through public procurement

EU to PH: Fight corruption through public procurement | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
MANILA, Philippines – To further improve the economic relations between the Philippines and the European Union (EU), Manila must look into public procurement, an area still lagging despite the integration of world markets.

This was the advise of Guy Ledoux, ambassador of the European Union to the Philippines, in his speech at the 52nd annual meeting of the Philippine Economic Society on Friday, November 14.

“Better value for money" or the ability of the authorities to successfully acquire goods, works, or services on the best possible terms is the major gain from an open public procurement system.

Ledoux said world governments have started to understand the importance of government procurement markets and the benefits that could come from undertaking procurement reforms.

Public procurement makes up around 10% to 25% of gross domestic products (GDP) of national economies. In the EU, it corresponds to 19% of GDP or some €2.41 billion or over $6 billion globally. Studies also showed that in EU, an open public procurement policy can save up to 30% of taxpayer's money.

Another benefit from an open public procurement system is that it becomes an instrument to fight corruption, given that corruption increasing costs by 25% to 50%.

“By curbing corruption in government procurement, authorities can achieve value of money in their acquisitions,” Ledoux said.

Thus, competitive bidding and transparency are tools for addressing corruption as well, Ledoux added.

Rules apply to PPP

There are also public procurement regulatory rules applicable to public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

Tendering PPP projects has provoked a lot of discussion in the media recently, notably surrounding large infrastructure projects such as the Cavite-Laguna expressway (CALAX) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT1) Cavite extension project.

“The principles of transparency and non-discrimination are also fundamental for these projects and a regulatory system that enables all interested economic operators to participate on a fair and transparent basis enhances the quality of such projects, cutting their costs by means of increased competition,” Ledoux said.

European companies have shown interest in such projects and the Philippines could benefit a lot from such by implementing transparency and equal treatment in those tenders so that the best quality could be ensured at the lowest costs, Ledoux added.

“I am looking forward seeing European companies delivering a constructive and competitive contribution to these projects – especially following the encouragement of President Aquino, during his Europe visit in September, seeking European companies to come and invest in the Philippines, through PPP or otherwise. The EU wants to deliver on that,” Ledoux said.

The Philippines can get much from over €200 billion ($249.10 billion) FDI that European companies globally invest yearly once the country join the Government Procurement Agreement as an observer. “This way, the government can show its engagement toward transparency, non-discrimination, and international competition and benchmark its own policies against international ones,” Ledoux said.

Improving the legal framework for foreign bidders would also allow companies to bid at a more equal footing, Ledoux said. “A procurement market open to foreign bidders is a key asset to significantly upgrade the level of competition and ensure better value for money,” he added.

Fully liberalizing foreign bids for infrastructure project above P1 billion ($22.25 billion)** is highly welcome, Ledoux said, referring to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson’s “ambition” and the Government Public Procurement Board resolution allowing such.

“In addition, bringing down that threshold would probably benefit the government even more – allowing more competition also for smaller projects,” Ledoux said.

Implementing the Apostille Convention – the international treaty specifying that a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states – is also helpful as it would lighten the burdensome requirements for legalizing documents.

“It's an easy facilitating measure that works both ways and I'm happy with the commitment we have received toward this goal last June,” Ledoux shared.

Overall, Ledoux wished that more European companies will find their way to the Philippines to contribute to help create jobs and add value to the country’s economy.

“Besides building quality infrastructure, open public procurement also helps to save Filipinos tax payers' money,” Ledoux said. – Rappler.com

*€1 = US$1.25

** US$1 = P44.96
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Public procurement wants to support local business

Public procurement wants to support local business – but does anyone think about the negatives of this approach? Because whilst it does have some positive justification, it does bring dangers.

We have seen this desire to “buy local” at different geographic levels. So countries want more of their spend to stay within that particular country. Regions within a country feel the same about firms in their territory, and the same applies all the way down to small towns who want to support business in “their” town.

An example was an article in a English local newspaper recently, the Plymouth Herald, which reported that “Plymouth City Council says that nearly half its spending is now done with city businesses – creating 220 jobs. The authority says 45 per cent of its spend is in Plymouth, compared to just 16 per cent in 2011/12”.

Now there is much that is good in the report in terms of what is being done by the procurement team in the city. Aiming to pay suppliers within 15 days; running tender training targeted at local small firms; embedding Social Act requirements into contracts; and advertising contract opportunities on local portals are all admirable moves. However, a couple of the initiatives are somewhat more worrying. Here is the Herald again reporting those actions:

“Increasing the council’s low-value thresholds from £75,000 to £100,000 so the council needs only three quotations rather than a lengthy tender process.

Changing contract standing orders so at least two quotes are from local suppliers, and where possible all three quotes are local”.

So these steps would appear to be reducing real competition by clearly favouring local suppliers in terms of seeking and accepting bids from the market. We have three problems with this – we will return and consider at a later date each of these in more detail, and explore how contracting authorities can mitigate against these risks. But in summary, here are the issues to consider.

1. The legality of supporting local business in this way

The fundamental EU laws and directives aim to open up competition to organisations from across the EU. So the treaty principle of non-discrimination means that every firm, no matter where they are based, should be able to compete for work.

Taking the Plymouth case as an example, can it be legal for the council to restrict tenders or quotes to firms from within the City? “At least two quotes are from local suppliers”. Unless there are very good reasons to do so, genuinely connected with the contract, that seems very unlikely. Of course, this practice probably happens in many towns, cities or regions around Europe, but it is not spoken about very openly. We suspect that is because it is illegal.

2. Economic efficiency

Classic economic theory supports the idea that choosing the best firms to carry out any work has an economic benefit to the wider system. If Plymouth (or any other authority) are choosing suppliers who are not in fact the best economic choice to carry out the supply, then there is a net loss to the wider economic system at a national or global level. That must be true even if there is some benefit to the local economy.

3. Corruption

Less rigourous competition when awarding contracts to local suppliers brings with it a higher risk of corruption. If a local supplier can exploit their contacts with local elected representatives or officials, are they more likely to get selected for one of the “local suppliers only” shortlists that Plymouth talk about? Corruption is obviously more difficult to implement successfully when there is open competition and wider bidding for contracts. We suspect that in countries or regions where corruption is widespread, a lot of contracts are awarded to local businesses, without full competition . We are not of course accusing anyone in the case of Plymouth, but the danger is there.

Finally, it is also worth asking whether this support for local businesses really works. To give Plymouth credit, they have at least tried to measure the effect that their policies have achieved, and claim that  220 jobs have been created. It would be good to know how this is assessed however, as doing that is clearly not easy! But it would be interesting to see more work done, anywhere in Europe, to actually identify whether this approach does bring benefits to offset the risks we discussed above.
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Pascal DAVID's curator insight, November 15, 4:06 AM

interesting paper which is pointing out the risks of restrictive and protectionist approach of public procurement. 

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Journalism project uncovers public procurement fraud in Romania

Public procurement in Romania is a €17 billion market, but more than 60% of procedures are hit by complaints. A new project has highlighted fraud and irregularities in the system, and suggested how to improve the situation. EurActiv Romania reports.

According to official data, more than 19,000 tendering procedures were initiated last year on the communication platform used in the awarding process for public procurement contracts. Their total value was RON 74.6 billion (€16.9 billion), according to the latest Annual Report of the National Council for Solving Complaints (CNSC).

The CNSC deals with the complaints about the public procurement market. By way of comparison, €16.9 billion is more than double than the value of the European Structural Funds received by Romania in the last seven years.

The Romanian public procurement market is characterised by a great many problems and irregularities, which is only partially reflected in official numbers. For example, CNSC made decisions on about 60% of cases, which means that almost two thirds of all procedures were subject to complaints.

Almost 40% of the complaints were about public procurement contracts financed by European Funds. 

ilviu Popa, who works for CNSC, explained that the number of complaints influences the perception of private investors regarding the way that the government manages public money. Romanians are not “professional complainers”, but these numbers reflect vulnerabilities in the public procurement system, he argued.

Popa also stressed that Romania has a very competent system for solving complaints. But reform was still needed.

At the request of EurActiv.ro, Bogdan Paul Dobrin, president of the National Authority for Regulating and Monitoring Public Procurement (ANRMAP), provided information about the contract-awarding procedures. 

The most frequent types of irregularities discovered include:

using, in inappropriate circumstance, some awarding procedures which would normally be applied as exceptions;
dividing a contract into several smaller contracts, to avoid going through procurement procedures;
ignoring rules on publicity, especially those regarding the publication of the awarding notice in the period specified by law;
inadequate and subjective use, during the evaluation of offers, of criteria included in the awarding documentation. 
Corruption watchdog

The journalism project dosareachizitii.hotnews.ro, dubbed “The PP files”, was launched in April 2014, to raise awareness of public procurement corruption. Since its launch, it has already had success. After it exposed an apparently illegal, restrictive qualification requirement in a tender document, the Education Ministry was forced to revise down figures by almost ten times.

The platform was launched as part of the project “Fighting Public Procurement Criminality. An Operational Approach”, coordinated by Freedom House Romania Foundation, with important institutional partners in Romania, France and Germany.

It was developed in response to the Romanian authorities' need to implement EU recommendations in the field of fighting public procurement fraud, such as those of Fighting Corruption in the EU and the Commission report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) of 8 February 2012.

So far, 17 cases of fraud and corruption have been covered by the project's journalists, five of them having been closed after a final decision.

One case looks like a typical case of fraud by local authorities. Mircia Gutau, mayor of the city of Ramnicu Valcea, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years prison. He bought playground equipment in Bulgaria for €9,000 and re-sold it to the local authorities for €30,000.

Another case concerned a land swoop, which, according to the prosecution, will lose the Baneasa airport in Bucharest €4 million. The case, which dragged on from January 2008 to March 2013, ended with the acquittal of all the defendants.

The website also offers a full overview of the judicial process, and describes the tricks and loopholes help the defendants escape from justice.
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Webinar 29: Tax & Public Procurement in Japan | EU Business in Japan

What kind of support services are available for EU SMEs doing business in Japan with regard to tax issues and for those who wish to enter Japan's lucrative Public Procurement market?

New support service for EU SMEs covering Tax Issues and Access to Public Procurement Market in Japan!

Launched in November this year and managed by the EU-Japan Centre, the Japan Tax and Public Procurement (JTPP) Helpdesk is a new service that intends to support European SMEs with tax-related issues and market access to the public procurement (PP) market in Japan.

With a potential market value of as much as 550 billion euro, Japanese public procurement remains an untapped market for European SMEs.  Although Europe-based multinational companies are active in the PP market through Japanese subsidiaries, many SMEs are still reluctant to enter this market due to lack of information and the complexity of procedures.  The JTPP Helpdesk aims to overcome these barriers by providing practical information, assistance with completing standard procedures and insights into market opportunities.  Through its “Ask-the-Expert” service, the JTPP Helpdesk also acts as an intermediary between European SMEs and selected expert services providers such as tax accountants, business administration offices and translators if it concerns a more complex inquiry. Also, the JTPP Helpdesk offers the following services:

Assistance with obtaining Supplier Qualifications
Public Procurement Market Quick Scan
Webinars and training on tax and public procurement
Online news services on recent developments
(Limited) Tender monitoring services
Practical guides and checklists
The webinar is targeted at: EU SMEs considering entering the public procurement market in Japan and SMEs looking for support with tax related matters. 

Registrations are open until the 01/12/2014 included.

What you will learn during this webinar?

In 40 minutes from your desk, you will:

Get an insight into what the JTPP Helpdesk can do for you
Receive an explanation about the various services provided by JTPP Helpdesk
Get an introduction about the Public Procurement market in Japan
Get an overview of the tax system in Japan
 Programme:

Introduction
Expert’s presentation
Q&A Session
Conclusion 
Speaker:  Lyckle GRIEK, Owner, Japan Unlimited Consultants & Liaisons, Workum, Netherlands 
Organiser: EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation - Brussels Office
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Cabinet Office consults on how to use powers to change public procurement rules to aid SMEs

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

Why SMEs need a slice of the action - Telegraph | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
When Suffolk software company i2N started pitching for government contracts, it was an uphill struggle to get anyone in the civil service to notice their existence. In the past couple of years, however, their fortunes have been transformed with G-cloud, an online IT procurement framework which enables small firms to compete on an equal footing with large firms when bidding for work.
I2N has so far supplied both the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, helping to push turnover from £500,000 in 2011 to £3.5m today.
Ian Glen, i2N’s commercial manager, says: “G-cloud has been transformational in terms of opening up contract opportunities to ourselves and other SMEs. We now have the confidence to increase our levels of investment back into the business, to hire more staff, and to plan to bring more products and services to the marketplace.”
G-cloud is one of several measures the Government hopes will help it achieve its target of 25pc of central government procurement going to SMEs by 2015. In 2010, the figure was just 6.5pc. It is also abolishing pre-qualification questionnaires for low-value contracts, a stumbling block to SME involvement, and launching an improved version of its Contract Finder website, listing all public sector contracts over £10,000. It has introduced a “mystery shopper” service so firms can challenge poor procurement practice.
It is an impressive start. Simon Clark, at Fidelity Growth Partners, says: “I give this Government a lot of credit. It has done a lot to encourage smaller companies to think about government as a good buyer. G-cloud could be a model for governments around the world.”
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SMEs neglected in big business contracts 11 Jul 2014
SME of the Year entry: Mallow & Marsh Sponsored by FedEx
Opening up procurement not only helps SMEs get secure long-term work, it also provides the Government with access to innovation, often at a lower cost than big multinationals can deliver.
It is early days, though, and a lot can still go wrong. For a start, success has been mostly confined to IT contracts. Then there is the challenge of adapting a system where large firms spend millions on securing contracts, to one which is more workable for SMEs. Earlier this year, Buddi, a firm with 25 employees, reluctantly withdrew from bidding for a multimillion-pound Ministry of Justice contract to tag offenders. Despite spending two years and £2m pitching for it, the company failed to reach a workable commercial agreement.
Buddi’s founder, Sara Murray, who described the process as unproductive and frustrating, says she has received hundreds of letters from other small firms in the same situation. She said: “We would love to work for the Government. But I’d actively discourage an SME to go through the process we went through because we halved our growth for that period, as all our resources got sucked into bidding for the Ministry of Justice contract.”
Third, as everyone involved has discovered, welcoming SMEs is not just about changing the process, it is about changing the culture. This will become increasingly difficult as the reforms are extended beyond central government to the wider public sector.
Stephen Allott, the Crown representative for SMEs in government, says: “There is a huge amount of work to do to win the hearts and minds of the core civil service who have been used to buying from big suppliers for years and years. We are pioneering the heresy that sometimes small can be beautiful.”
There are also external pressures such as calls by the Labour Party to ban SMEs from contracts unless they pay employees the living wage, and the uncertainty of a general election. Graeme Fisher, of the Federation of Small Businesses, says: “There has been progress, we shouldn’t dismiss that. But there is a long way to go.”
Faced with such hurdles, it would be easy for political leaders to push SME procurement off the agenda. But this must not be allowed to happen because despite the challenges, it is a goal worth pursuing.
The public sector spends £230bn a year on procuring goods and services. For an SME, securing a contract with a government department or local authority could be transformative. For the SME sector as whole, it could be electrifying. Yes, genuinely opening up public sector procurement to SMEs will be far harder and take far longer than anyone imagines. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
Rachel Bridge is an author, public speaker and journalist specialising in entrepreneurship and SMEs.
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Innovation Procurement ::  Events

Innovation Procurement ::  Events | Public Procurement - Europe | Scoop.it
Modernising the public sector and boosting economic growth through Innovation Procurement

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

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

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

For more information or to register for the event please see the link below:
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/modernizing-the-public-sector-and-boosting-economic-growth-through-innovation-procurement-tickets-13238483661
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Innovation Procurement Workshop at Open Days 2014 | Digital Agenda for Europe | European Commission

Date: 
07/10/2014
Venue: 
Brussels, Centre Borschette, Room 0B
The workshop, taking place on 7 October from 14:30 until 17:00, will highlight the regional aspects of Innovation Procurement, focusing mainly on the health sector.

Two best practise examples will be presented namely the following:

The Thalea project which implements a PCP to improve the care for acutely live-threatened patients by telemedicine and tele-monitoring;
The Stop and Go project that executes a PPI to improve telecare services for frail elderly people with multiple conditions.
In addition, information will be shared about support given by the European Commission for PCP and PPI in Horizon 2020, emphasising the calls on health. Moreover, the synergies between the Structural Funds and Horizon 2020 on the implementation of Innovation Procurement will be highlighted.

Registration is possible through the Open Days 2014 web page.
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