Channel players may get a bigger slice of IT public sector projects following an updated set of guidelines from the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) on the European Union’s (EU) public sector IT procurement directive.
The guidelines warn government departments to word IT tenders in such a way as to avoid discriminating against vendors.
Brand-specific terms or those that “refer to materials or goods of specific origin, or to a particular process or means of production” are allowed only in exceptional circumstances, and must be accompanied by the words “or equivalent”.
Martin Day, representative for the OGC, said: “Certain countries have been pulled up by the EU recently for infringements, so we published this guidance as a reminder. We have never had any breaches in the UK.”
The rules demand that requirements for microprocessors must exclude any reference to brands, such as Intel or AMD, or “potential discriminatory descriptors”.
AMD, which made a complaint to the EU last year, welcomed the UK’s new guidelines.
Giuliano Meroni, AMD corporate vice-president sales and marketing for EMEA, said: “We fully support the UK initiative to bring more competition into technology procurement. The illegal use of brand names reduces market competition.”
Mike Williams, public sector sales manager at Misco, said: “UK government tenders should not be brand specific. However, it is possible to imply what brand you require without actually making reference to the vendor. For example, listing certain configurations of serial/USB ports could identify a certain model.”
Nick Kalisperas, director of trade body Intellect, said: “We always want a level playing field. We also want UK companies to be able to bid for business in other European countries in a fair way. Procurement rules therefore need to become uniform.”
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