Details of public sector procurement complaints raised by IT suppliers have been published by the government, with an apparent lack of competition and pricing concerns being placed under the microscope.
The government runs a "mystery shopper" scheme through which suppliers from across the board can raise their procurement issues. Every quarter, details of the mystery shopper scheme's activities are published publicly.
A number of IT-related gripes were published in the January-March document.
One supplier complained about an IT deal within the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), raising a concern about another supplier, claiming it had won work with the department by offering a different price to that already agreed through the G-Cloud framework. Describing the outcome of the complaint, the government insisted it was a misunderstanding.
"The MoJ responded quickly to the concerns raised and explained that the winning supplier had not bid lower than their G-Cloud price. Rather, the supplier had won the bid by providing the service for fewer hours than offered by a competitor."
The MoJ was the subject of another complaint, this time regarding a deal through the Digital Services framework. A supplier accused the organisation of not considering the option of several IT suppliers partnering together to deliver their IT requirement, meaning the opportunity was too large for a supplier to bid for.
The government said the MoJ was unclear about the process.
"MoJ was not aware that the choice to include a partnering option was theirs to make," it said. "We have agreed that for Digital Services 3 (which will replace the current framework shortly), the customer guidance is strengthened to increase awareness and underline the benefits of partners."
In another complaint listed in the document, a supplier raised concerns that there were not "appropriate levels of competition" when the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust procured an electronic blood-tracking IT system.
The government said: "Following investigation, the mystery shopper team took the view that, as the procurement was open to all 15 suppliers on the framework, an appropriate and competitive procurement route was pursued."
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