05 July 2001 | Robin Parker
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is to begin pilot schemes for its e-tendering project in 10 government departments and agencies tomorrow.
The Department of Health, the Inland Revenue and the Department of Trade and Industry are among those undertaking three-month trials of the OGC TenderTrust project. They were chosen to represent a cross-section of government IT capabilities and procurement practices.
TenderTrust, announced by Peter Gershon, the OGC's chief executive, this spring aims to save the public sector £13 million.
The departments will determine its success according to a set of pre-arranged criteria and consultations with suppliers, allowing the OGC to judge the speed with which it can be rolled out across central government on four-year contracts.
The technology behind the system, from Trustmarque International, is pioneering in its use of smart-card technology, said Jane Gibbs, the OGC's director of e-commerce. "It's at the forefront of e-commerce development and we're confident the pilot will have a strong impact on the way government does business."
An OGC spokesman said the system will be committed to the needs of suppliers, who stand to save an estimated £37 million in transaction costs. Nationwide briefings were held last month with the companies most likely to supply the departments during the pilot period.