02 February 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
Changes to EC procurement directives must not be used as way to avoid the use of e-auctions.
Chris Penny, e-auction manager at OGCbuying.solutions, told SM
the amendments may be perceived as complicating online procurement and could curtail its use. "People shouldn't hide behind the directives, it's not another reason to put the shutters down," he said.
The directives cover public sector and utilities contracts and were scheduled to come into force in the UK on 31 January. One change compels organisations using e-auctions to show suppliers their live ranking during the auction - including those based on non-price criteria alone. The new law also requires buyers intending to weight the award of the contract according to factors other than price to tell suppliers of these conditions before they bid.
Penny said where e-auctions have been used as part of the overall tendering process they have helped achieve savings "over and above the traditional process".
He added that 67 e-auctions were carried out in the public sector using OGC's framework last year, with 110 in total since 2003. These had a combined pre-auction value of £394 million and resulted in savings of around 23 per cent or £92 million.
Penny estimated the number of public-sector e-auctions carried out since 2003 using other providers as about 75: "There's still a huge amount of scope and opportunity for greater use of them," he said.
All four suppliers on the OGC's framework agreement for e-auctions - Achilles, BT, TradingPartners and BravoSolution - are compliant with the directives.