Networking resellers have branded the cancellation of Buying Solutions’ framework for voice, video and data products a missed opportunity for public-sector buyers.
As exclusively revealed by ChannelWeb, government procurement body Buying Solutions told resellers to stop working on bids just three weeks before the submission deadline.
The framework was divided into 15 Lots and commanded an estimated value of £500m to £1bn over its two- to four-year duration.
Buying Solutions said it needed to align with the ICT Strategy for Government published in January and also cited potential overlaps with other procurements such as Public Sector Network Convergence.
However, its cancellation has left the estimated 60-80 firms involved fuming. Many had started working on bids having already survived a tough pre-qualification process.
Jonathan Pickering, managing director of NHS-focused Cisco partner Block Solutions, which was competing for two Lots, claimed that public sector bodies wishing to build direct ties with more specialist resellers would also lose out.
“It would have provided opportunities for public sector organisations to procure the specialist skills of Blocks and other partners,” he said.
“This brings into question whether Buying Solutions has enough specialised partners at its disposal to offer best value to the public sector.”
Bidders also voiced frustration that the letter notifying them of the news
was “vague and mass-produced” and failed to offer advice on what they should do
Buying Solutions said that the current framework would result in an “inadequate procurement offering”.
It added: “We are reviewing whether a replacement procurement exercise or other solution would meet the best interests of our customers and we have offered to discuss this with them individually to see how their needs could be best met in the given circumstances.”
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