Monday, 13 June 2011

The Guardian's Public Procurement Show 2011 The Excel Centre, London. A 'must visit' for suppliers to public sector also!

Before suppliers consider selling to the public sector they should research what markets are open to then and decide if they can meet the needs of those target markets. They need to be able to:
• Compete with other firms
• Complete contracts on time and to the required standards
• Have a sound financial and commercial reputation
• Be able to familiarise themselves with Government purchasing procedures
• Offer value for money

Selling into the public sector also requires to get into the mind-set of those charged with responsibility for influencing, making and taking decisions in the public.

"What is currently keeping public sector buyers ( Procurement) awake at night ?"

Well perhaps some clues to the answers to this question can be drawn from the titles of the legal tent sessions at this year’s Public Procurement show at London’s Excel Exhibition Centre.

1. How can commissioners evaluate the ability of low tender bidders to fulfil the contract and how can they safely reject low bids without becoming embroiled in legal action?

2. How you can generate revenue through innovative charging and trading structures, thus freeing up resource to focus on other services.

3. How far does this protect future shared services projects from falling foul of procurement law?

4. To what extent can public authorities discriminate in favour of small businesses or voluntary organisations when running a procurement exercise?

5. Where does the need for transparency come into conflict with commercial confidentiality?

6. How can public bodies ensure that they don't fall foul of procedure rules and time limits and what are the consequences if they do?

For anyone selling to the Public sector it could prove useful to find out the feelings , thoughts and opinions around these issues.
( 40% 0f Buyers met Suppliers at exhibitions in the last 12 months. Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study)

If nothing else it will stop the supplier “tell selling” and help them to give the Buyer a damned good listening to , first!

In the private sector it is not often suppliers can challenge a lost bid with any effect. Suppliers can ask but private buyers are seldom forthcoming or at best are vague.

( The long 'shed' that is the Excel Centre on quayside of the Royal Victoria Dock in London's renewed East End)

Things are a little different in the Public arena where challenges are allowed by the rules.

Public procurement has to be seen to be fair and their processes transparent.

If the rules are broken re-tendering has to take place which is expensive to all concerned.

One session at the legal tent has its learning points as:

How to make tenders challenge proof
- includes

• Pointers when drafting Office of the Journal of the European Union (OJEU) advertisements.
• The need to publish all measures of assessment.
• How to provide reasons for a decision to disappointed bidders.
• What are 'reasonable' criteria?
• How to ensure equality of treatment between bidders
• How to amend a contract without making a 'material change' which would spark a re-tender.
This could be very useful for suppliers to attend.

The exhibition runs from Tuesday14th June to Wednesday 15th

Other Guardian related Links

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