E-procurement system will help universities cut costs

24 March 2011
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Three London universities now have access to the UK's largest online database of pre-qualified construction firms.

The London School of Economics (LSE), the University of Greenwich and King's College London can now access contractors’ pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) data from the government-backed supplier register Constructionline through their existing e-procurement provider In-Tend.

LSE purchasing adviser Pete Crowe says the PQQ process is costly for Britain’s universities. The integration of the In-Tend and Constructionline systems could reduce the time each university spends creating tender lists, which will help slash administrative costs.

The change means the universities can view qualified suppliers registered in Constructionline and access In-Tend through one browser which reduces the time spent selecting suitable bidders. A pilot of the scheme completed by purchasing teams at LSE and King’s College last year led to the programme being adopted at all three. 

Crowe said: “Using both procurement systems in tandem has freed up a large amount of resource that can now be focused on the more complex phases of our procurement process such as health and safety management.”

Around 8,000 buyers currently access Constructionline’s register of pre-qualified suppliers for construction contracts. In-Tend’s e-procurement software created by the University of Sheffield, is used by more than 200 organisations including universities.

Constructionline, a public-private-partnership between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Capita Business Services, aims to improve efficiencies for buyers and construction suppliers. It hopes the integrated system will be rolled out to the procurement departments of all British universities in due course.   

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