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Brexit and Public Procurement – no change for now

On 14 November 2018, the European Commission and UK negotiators reached an accord on the full scope of the Withdrawal Agreement and constructed an outline for the political declaration on the future of the relationship between the EU and the UK. 

The coverage of the draft treaty agreement presented to parliament has been extensive; most trade journals have already provided comprehensive coverage on the most salient details for each industry.

As DeNove specialises in public sector procurement, we decided to shed some light on the meaning of the recent draft treaty and how it will impact public sector procurement.

The section of the draft treaty that addresses public sector procurement can be found on page pages 132 – 136 of the draft treaty. It is not the most accessible of documents and so we have  provided a more succinct explanation of what to expect below.

First and foremost, there is to be a transition period, which will conclude on the 31st December 2020. This decision takes into account the UK’s initial request for a transition period of approximately two years. The dates also coincide with the end of the current long-term EU budget (the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020).

The Treaty and associated EU Withdrawal Agreement provides legal certainty on public procurement procedures. During the transition period, the current EU procurement regulations will prevail. This situation will then continue for any ‘in-flight’ procurements. Effectively, if a procurement has commenced (i.e. a contract notice has been issued) then it is our understanding that the procurement will continue to run in accordance with The Public Contracts Regulations (2015) and EU law. Put simply, procurements will continue to exist under the same procedural and substantive policies as the ones that were in effect at the time of their commencement.

We will write more about the likely situation post the transition period once the situation becomes clearer, but in the meantime if you have any questions regarding how this will impact your business then please feel free to give us a call.

For further information, please see our previous Brexit related articles here and here.

Accessing Public Sector Contracts if there’s No Brexit Deal

On the 13/09/2018, the Department for Exiting the EU published a technical notice entitled ‘Accessing Public Sector Contracts if there’s No Brexit Deal’. This Department has been publishing a series of technical notices to help businesses, citizens and the wider government understand the implications of a ‘no deal’ outcome in March 2019.

The possibility of a ‘no deal’ scenario in March 2019 has been a cause for great concern for many businesses. While a ‘no deal’ exit will certainly have a major impact on many businesses, the systems and processes for accessing public sector contracts will remain largely the same.

Below, we have outlined what accessing public sector contracts is likely to entail in the event of a ‘no deal’ outcome. We hope, and suspect, that this will put our customers’ minds at ease (regarding this point at least).

In the event of a ‘no deal’ outcome in March 2019, the government has stated that a replacement UK-specific e-notification service will be made available. For procuring authorities, this may necessitate a steep learning curve and its introduction may be complicated.

However, for the average British supplier to the public sector, very little will change and what minor differences there are can be overcome via simple workarounds.

Currently, the majority of all English public sector contracts valued over £10,000 for Central Contracting Authorities and £25,000 for Sub Central Contracting Authorities and NHS Trusts are published on Contracts Finder. This will not change. Suppliers looking for smaller sized contracts in the UK will continue to be able to use Contracts Finder (for procurements in England), Public Contracts Scotland (for procurements in Scotland), Sell2Wales (for procurements in Wales) and eTendersNI (for procurements in Northern Ireland).

Effectively, all UK contracts will continue to be published and will be available to anybody seeking access, entirely free of charge.

If British suppliers wish to sell their services internationally, then they will continue to be able to use Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) to do so. It is possible that English contracts will no longer be published on TED. If this is the case, the simple solution for suppliers is to ensure that they are correctly registered on Contracts Finder so that they can use that platform for English tenders. For those wishing to access European tenders, we would recommend setting up a search on TED, as per usual. It is worth noting that both TED and Contracts Finder are free of charge.

In the event that we do fall out of the EU, the technical notice confirms that the UK aims to accede to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). The UK currently participates in the GPA by virtue of its EU membership. Readers who currently use TED will notice that procurements that are applicable to the WTO rules and regulations are already signposted on all Tender Europa procurements. Each tender notice will feature a question on GPA coverage and will provide a clear ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. In the vast majority of cases, the answer is ‘Yes’, which means that the impact of acceding to the WTO agreement will be minimal for most companies seeking to access public sector tenders.

What may change, in the long-term, concerns the publishing in English on TED. Currently, TED publishes international tender notices with a full tender notice in the language of the contracting body’s country with a briefer summary in all other official EU languages. Once we leave the EU the TED team may no longer provide an English translation.

We fully appreciate that a ‘no deal’ outcome is likely to have a substantial impact on many areas of our customers’ businesses. However, with respect to the technical notice published by the Department for Exiting the EU, we would like to assure readers that there is little cause for concern regarding accessing public sector contracts post-Brexit.

Richard Crade joins DeNové

DeNové are delighted to welcome Richard Crade to our team as our new Executive Advisor.

Recently employed as Public Sector Business Development Director at NTT DATA UK, Richard is known for his impressive talent for managing teams, developing long-term client relationships and devising client-focused value propositions. He will act as an Executive Advisor for our customers, assisting them with business development and sales opportunity matters.

Richard has an excellent track record of success in the ICT industry.  At Bull Information Systems, Richard won new business at the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, taking that account to the largest in the UK business over several years.  When Steria acquired Bull, Richard became Business Unit Director for their UK Managed Services business with 900 staff in IT infrastructure implementation and outsourcing contracts across all markets reporting to the UK CEO with full P&L responsibility for 70% of Steria’s UK revenues.

After a brief time at EDS where he was engagement lead for a £500m Managed Services bid to the Department for Constitutional Affairs, he was recruited to help IBM win more business in the public sector.  Richard spent 7 years at IBM developing major opportunities, creating market strategy, coordinating multiple lines of business and coaching deal teams.  As well as his initial public sector role, Richard took the global lead role on major $200m deal with a Swiss based pharmaceutical company for cloud hosting and application migration and supported Strategic Outsourcing in the Nordics to significantly improve the quality of their client propositions.

In 2013, NTT Data UK offered Richard the role of Business Development Director for the Public Sector. During his five years of employment with NTT, Richard won a number of contracts including the prestigious Core IT Services contract at HM Treasury, a multi-year managed service valued to date at ~£30m).

We are fortunate to have worked with Richard on a number of multi-million-pound tenders. Given his experience and expertise, we are certain that Richard will be an invaluable member of the DeNové team.

Data and Application Solutions framework, RM3821

Corporate Software Solutions, RM1042 (expires in October 2018) and Local Authority Software Applications, RM1059 (expires in August 2018) will both be replaced by a single agreement framework – Data and Application Solutions (RM3821).

The contract notice for RM3821 was published by Crown Commercial Service on the 5th July 2018. Submission will be on the 6th August.

The framework will be established for 24 months with the option for it to be extended for a maximum of a further 24 months in 12-month stages (in years 2 + 1 + 1).

The Data and Application Solutions (DAS) framework targets the Enterprise Applications and the Information Management segment of UK Public Sector. It will establish appropriate contracting routes to meet common hardware, software and services requirements for use by UK public sector bodies; this includes Central Government Departments and their Arm’s Length Bodies and Agencies, Non-Departmental Public Bodies, Police, Emergency Services, Education Sector, NHS bodies and Local Authorities.

There are 14 lots spanning specific solutions for Enterprise Data and Applications, Local Government, Health and Social Care, Police and Emergency Service, and Education. In summary, they are:

  • Lot 1a – Resource Planning and Management Solutions including Financial and Commercial
  • Lot 1b – Workflow & Case Management Solutions
  • Lot 1c – Data Collection, Storage & Management
  • Lot 1d – Data Intelligence & Analytics
  • Lot 2a – Business Applications
  • Lot 2b – Environmental & Planning
  • Lot 2c – Citizen Services
  • Lot 3a – Enterprise Applications for Health
  • Lot 3b – Health Information Management
  • Lot 3c – Community Health & Social Care
  • Lot 4a – Blue Light Operations
  • Lot 4b – Blue Light Data & Information Management
  • Lot 5a – Learning Applications & Platforms
  • Lot 5b – Academic Scheduling & Management Solutions

DeNove have an exceptional track record of helping customers to secure places on Crown Commercial Service agreements (see 9 OUT OF 9) and helped Redfern, a Bradford based SME, win the £800m+ Crown Commercial Service Travel Contract three times in a row (please read the article here).

If you would like a helping hand to win a place on this framework then please call +44 (0)207 960 2801 (or out of hours on 07950 396 205).

G-Cloud for Dummies (Part 3)

Sellers: Getting Started

All supplier applications go through the Digital Marketplace. To apply, you must:

  • Create, or log into, a supplier account on the Digital Marketplace.
  • Start your G-Cloud application.
  • Make the supplier declaration on the Digital Marketplace.
    • agree to the framework terms
    • confirm how you’ll work with government
    • answer questions to establish grounds for mandatory exclusion
    • answer questions to establish grounds for discretionary exclusion
    • provide information about your organisation
  • Add service information on the Digital Marketplace.
    • 50 words to introduce your service
    • 100 words to describe up to 10 service benefits (10 words per benefit), for example simplified system maintenance
    • 100 words to describe up to 10 service features (10 words per feature), for example real-time reporting
    • You’ll also have your own supplier page where you have 50 words to describe your organisation.
    • Before you can submit a cloud service to the Digital Marketplace, you need to add a: pricing document, terms and conditions (specific to that service) document
  • Wait for eligibility checks to be made on your information.
  • Get the result of your application.
  • Sign and return your framework agreement on the Digital Marketplace.

Easy, right?

But the G-Cloud is a relatively new route to market, with different buying groups, buying behaviours and competition. It contains a number of novel contractual clauses and commercial obligations and even the style of registration is different to what suppliers may be used to. As such, new and existing suppliers may find it difficult to get to grips with the challenges involved and often neglect to fully think through the opportunities and challenges that the G-Cloud can present to their business.

Thus far, less than 30% of the companies listed on the G-Cloud have made sales and the statistics are even less promising for companies that have registered recently, with four in five G-Cloud 9 suppliers yet to transact a single deal. Which leads us to a very important question; why then have the top five companies on G-Cloud achieved cumulative sales of over £400m between them? What sets these companies apart? Quite simply, they provide services that customers are interested in purchasing and, perhaps less obviously, they have taken the time and effort to optimise their listings. They dovetail their G-Cloud strategy into their overall sales and marketing plan. One of the issues with G-Cloud is that it is deceptively easy to register, which perpetuates a misconception that establishing a successful listing requires little to no effort. This is not the case. But how do you create a successful listing?

We can help with that. DeNové offer end-to-end services or help with specific aspects of the procurement process. We employ a team of expert bid writers, G-Cloud Consultants and Public Sector Procurement Specialists with extensive experience. If you would like more information regarding our bid management and Cloud services, drop us a line.

We would recommend reading the G-Cloud suppliers’ guide to learn more about selling cloud technology, how to register and how to apply. The G-Cloud is expected to open for new suppliers to register their services in April. You can keep up-to-date with the latest news from the Digital Market Place team or just contact us and we will let you know what you have to do and when.

The G-Cloud 10 contract notice has now been published and we anticipate that the site will be open to new applications at 12 noon on the 18th of April. You can start your application here.