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19 January 2012 | Adam Leach
Maude has told UK central government buyers he favours a more open procurement
approach instead of lengthy competitive dialogue procedures.
The minister for the Cabinet
Office made the announcement in a speech to 100 buyers yesterday explaining his
plans for changing and speeding up the way central government purchasing is carried
out. “This is the moment we change the way we do things. I’m now setting a
presumption against the use of protracted competitive dialogue process, which
in our view slows things up unnecessarily,” he said.
From the start of this month, all
but the most complex government procurements must be completed within 120
working days, compared with the previous average of 200 days, from the point at
which they are published on the OJEU website.
The shorter time-span was announced in November.
The government wants buyers to
carry out more in-depth research into what’s available on the market, and in
particular to look for ways to innovate, before launching any procurement
process. This, it hopes, will speed up the process and ultimately make it more
During yesterday’s speech, Maude
explained that he wanted to see procurement professionals in central government
“warm up” the market and invite potential suppliers to demonstrate their
products and services. He said: “Warming up the market first means procurements
are faster and more straightforward because bids can summarise and price what’s
already been discussed.
“From now on, before you publish
the formal advert, you can invite a diverse range of prospective suppliers,
including SMEs, that you think can meet your requirement to an industry boot
Earlier in the speech, the
minister suggested that while procurement has not necessarily been a hot topic
for past governments, it was of great importance to him. “Past governments
haven’t got very excited about procurement. It wasn’t a sure-fire headline
grabber. But it’s obvious to me procurement matters,” he said.
If you were in the audience at yesterday’s event and have an
opinion you would like to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org