02 March 2006 | Anusha Bradley
The OGC has launched an e-marketplace and purchase-to-pay system, amid accusations that it replicates an existing tool.
Ian Busby, chief executive of IT firm eGS, said the OGC's system provided the same tools as IDeA:marketplace, which he created in 2003.
OGCbuying.solutions contracted PA Shared Services (PASS) to develop Zanzibar for the public sector. It is a point for buyers to access the OGC's framework agreements and individual department contracts. It also helps suppliers to trade with public-sector customers. PASS hopes to have 100 organisations signed up by the end of the year.
More than 100 public-sector organisations, including police, universities and NHS trusts, use IDeA: marketplace, which has 25,000 registered suppliers.
Sarah Cotgreave, e-commerce director at OGCbuying.solutions, told SM
that Zanzibar will help buyers access its framework agreements because they will now all be stored in one place.
But Busby said links to OGC's framework deals had already been created at a cost of £250,000. He added: "Why would it want to replicate something that already exists? Gershon is not about reinventing the wheel."
The OGC said IDeA: marketplace is only for local authority use, whereas Zanzibar is open to all. But Busby said the IDeA system can be used by anyone.
The Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Education and Skills and a consortium of 18 NHS trusts plan to use Zanzibar from this month, by which time 130 suppliers' catalogues are scheduled to be online.