Headlines: March 26th, 2002

The e-tendering pilot scheme launched by the Office for Government Commerce in July 2001 has been wound up. The pilot, involving ten government departments, was a web-based system for purchasing goods and services and it was designed to allow government departments to realize the benefits of e.commerce and help deliver the e.agenda. The plan envisaged the system being rolled out across all central departments. No reasons have been given for the wind-up but it is thought that the scheme was over complex covering too many departments and over ambitious.The benefits claimed for the electronic tendering scheme included a reduced paper trail on tendering exercises and labour intensive tasks, quick and accurate tender evaluation and reduced costs. It was estimated that over a four-year period there would be savings of 13m pounds for the taxpayer and 37m pounds for suppliers.

The contract for operating the OGC Tender Trust system was awarded to the Royal Bank of Scotland April 2001 following an advert for an Electronic Tendering System placed in the Official Journal of the European Communities in October 1999. The first invitation to tender, using Tender Trust, was issued in July 2001 by the Government Procurement Agency of Northern Ireland for the procurement of a Street Works Register and Notification System.

The pilot demonstrated that there is a strong demand for e-tendering from government departments and their suppliers. Over 400 suppliers applied to use the system and the website received 1.5 million ‘hits’. The knowledge gained from the pilot is now being analyzed by the OGC so that a full assessment of technical options can be made. Revised pans for adopting the new technology for e-tendering will be announced later this year.