09 July 2007 | Antony Barton
An e-auction for contracts to supply fresh produce was scrapped after an unnamed vendor misunderstood the guidelines and underbid rivals on every contract.
NHS Supply Chain has confirmed it cancelled the e-auction for the national School Fruit and Vegetable scheme, which provides children in local education authority-maintained infant, primary and special schools to a free piece of fruit or vegetable each school day.
A spokeswoman for NHS Supply Chain, which is managed by DHL Logistics, said despite intensive training and guidance, one supplier misunderstood the rules. She said criteria used across its e-auctions "are predominantly quality-focussed and not price-focussed, which this supplier failed to understand".
When asked whether it had caused NHS Supply Chain to question the way e-auctions are managed, the spokeswoman told supplymanagement.com it was taking steps to ensure this situation does not occur again and a re-run had taken place.
NHS Supply Chain was created last October after the NHS outsourced buying.