Industry bodies have welcomed the Office of Government Commerce’s (OGC) introduction of two new public sector procurement tools as a boon for channel firms.
The procurement pre-qualification tool (PQT) is a self-assessment tool for the senior responsible owner (SRO) of any given IT public sector contract. It aims to allow SROs to get involved in the tendering process before the bidding starts and the OGC has claimed it could reduce the length of time the tendering process takes by several months.
The tool is made up of a series of 20 questions for SROs. It is hoped that the answers will provide a clearer overview of a project as well as what they hope to achieve. The tool was developed in collaboration with technology industry body Intellect’s public sector council.
Programme manager Sureyya Kansoy told CRN: “If you are an SRO and you come in after the contract has been awarded, something different (to what you wanted) might have been purchased.”
Also being introduced is the joint statement of intent (JSI), which is agreed once the bidding process is complete between winning suppliers and the commissioning governmental department. While it is not legally binding, it aims to open lines of communication and clarify what a project requires.
Kansoy said: “A contract can be a static document, often put away and only taken out if there is a problem. The JSI is much more dynamic.”
Last year, the government announced its target of supplying 30 per cent of all public sector contracts through small firms. Jane Bennett, campaigns co-ordinator for the Forum of Private Business (FPB), claimed the new tools could make the tendering process better for SMEs.
“We welcome the enhanced clarity that the PQT will provide at the start of the procurement process,” she said. “It will enable small firms to make informed decisions before undertaking the huge task of completing all the forms and requirements.
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