‘OGC’ Procurement policy notices and big ‘Transparency’ policy news

I've had a bit of a rant a couple of times here - and directly to a few 'OGC' people - about the sad state of the 'old' OGC website, and how little useful procurement information gets onto the Cabinet Office site.  And I also spotted that the odd Procurement Policy Notice was still appearing on the apparently defunct OGC site, unannounced and buried about four knowledgeable clicks away from the home page!  (PPNs are one of the unheralded yet very useful 'OGC' products; essential reading for anyone in public sector procurement).

Anyway, I'm pleased to say that PPNs are now getting clear visibility on the Cabinet Office site.  Two have appeared in the last few days; this one on using open standards when specifying IT requirements (seems like a jolly good idea); and this one on Transparency which is pretty significant actually - I haven't seen this reported much, but it says;

All new tender documents and contracts (including ICT) over £10,000 should now be published on Contracts Finder. Contracts Finder is the government’s single platform providing access to public sector procurement related information and documentation, including the facility to publish both tender and contract documents in a single place. Contracts Finder is now live and can be found at: www.businesslink.gov.uk/ContractsFinder.

So this central repository of contract opportunities is up and running now - I didn't know that.  I will be exploring the Contracts Finder and will report back soon....

And also, all Departments and related bodies;

"are required to state which contracts have been awarded to a small or medium enterprise (SME)"

(in the contract award notice).

And, in case that wasn't enough,

The Minister for the Cabinet Office has set a separate requirement with effect from 1st January 2011, for departments to publish their estimated and actual procurement timescales (i.e. the time taken from placing the contract advertisement/OJEU notice/ [or other notification of procurement] to contract award) for new procurements with a contract value of above £10,000.

These requirements, while admirable in many ways, and giving people like me even more to write about, will place additional burdens on procurement teams, who are already seeing the cutbacks hitting them as well as colleagues. And there may well be unforeseen consequences in some of these moves...

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