Posts Tagged ‘Government Tender’

Have any of you come across the Coordinated Procurement Policy clause in recent tenders?  I found it interesting when I noticed it in a recent RFT.  In essence the clause was alerting potential suppliers that the Government was currently exploring opportunities to capture savings through aggregating the purchase of some products through a single contract and then making them available to a range of agencies.  The clause further advised that if this was to occur the Government could cancel the project and there was little the suppliers could do about it.  Now the government always reserves the right to cancel a project but the interesting part was the move to coordinated procurement. 


The recent Gershon Report suggested the existing practice of devolving procurement to individual departments (and down to individual braches in many cases) had gone too far. The problem here was that in some cases staff with no previous experience had to navigate the procurement system on their own.  I know this from personal experience having been called in to help a group of scientists complete the procurement process when they got out of their depth.


But if total devolvement is not the answer it’s unlikely the other end of the spectrum holds the answer either.  Total coordination has been tried before with the Department of Administrative Services and it did not work there.  We are told that coordinated procurement is not the same.  Fair enough, but what is it?  Where does it lie on the total aggregation and total devolvement continuum?   And what does it mean for SMEs who see a secure, three year government contract as proving stable revenue that will take them to their next level of growth?  Will coordinated projects result in contracts that are too large for SMEs to handle?  



The picture is still very unclear so it will be interesting to see where the dice fall.  For mine, it seems that the government is trying to achieve a mythical state – like being half pregnant.  What do you think?







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“Yip ya we’re on the panel!!” is often the celebratory call from companies that have successfully bid for a Standing Offer RFT.  All too often this follows 12 months later with “what’s going on, we having got any business yet”.


Now companies know the Request for Tender always carries the caveat of “no guarantee of future business” but they do have an expectation because they have past the “value for money”  test and are now part of whatr they think is a somewhat exclusive club. What they don’t know is that Government often put too many suppliers on the panel, sometimes up to 40 or more.  So much for exclusivity.


Too often, it appears, government has scant respect for the time and investment companies put into tenders.  Too often they want to offer their staff the widest possible choice in using whoever they want.  Trouble is that it’s sometimes the small operator who has made a significant investment in breaking into the government market that bears the cost of this largesse.  


Now government is always keen for lots of responses when they issue an RFT to ensure a competitive market.  One must wonder if their short sightedness and lack of regard for the cost of tendering might one day catch up with them.  I can just hear the exchange when a government officer enquires why a supplier with a good product did not tender.  It cost us $50,000 and a lot of management capacity to tender last time and you guys put 40 on the panel.  We got no business, so why should we bother this time.” 

Do you have experience in this area?  If so, let’s hear about it.

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Author: Maurice Downing (Corfocus)

Ambiguity makes for witty dialogue and an intriguing plot in Oscar Wilde plays such as The Importance of being Earnest but I am no fan of it outside of the theatre.  And I absolutely hate it when it turns up in Government tender documents.

At Corfocus our clients are companies bidding to win government tenders and I have to say that one of the biggest hurdles they face is not – can they do the job at competitive prices but can they unravel the ambiguities within the Request for Tender documents, especially the all important assessment criteria. 

Our clients often come to us and ask “what’s the difference between demonstrated capability and demonstrated capacity?”  Or it might be how is “demonstrated expertise” different from “demonstrated experience.”  In everyday land these terms are often used interchangeably and create great angst amongst clients who are trying to develop their best tenders, especially the inexperienced.   Check out the thesaurus in Word and you will see what I mean. 

And then there are the following doosies I came across in a recent tender

Criterion 2: The Tenderer is required to demonstrate through a Work Methodology Statement (WMS) how they intend to carry out the works.

Criterion 4: The Tenderer is required to demonstrate through a Works Methodology Statement how they intend to deliver the Services.

What’s the difference?  Can you spot it at a quick glance?  And would you bet the future of your business on your interpretation. Tenderers do every day of the week.  It’s no wonder companies can go into a tail spin and stress out when tendering for government projects.

For goodness sake, when are we going to get some plain speaking in Government tenders? 

Why is it a problem you might say?  It’s a problem because ambiguous RFTs can result in ambiguous tenders from suppliers.  Do they really have to be riddles that companies must unravel?  You know the old saying sh*t out means sh** in.  And it doesn’t have to be this way.   

So why improve it?  Because if the government released better RFTs the chances are the government would get better tenders in response and if they get better tenders then it is highly likely they will get better results.

So isn’t it time government stopped bunburying about in the land of tender and said what they wanted in plain English?  We have all smiled and laughed when Algernon and Jack both claim to be Earnest and the resulting confusion this creates for the rest of the cast.  Ambiguity in all its comical splendour.  But I can tell you it is no laughing matter trying to interpret confusing terminology and assessment criteria and then finding out you lost because you got it wrong.

What do you think?

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