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As the phasing in of the Public Contract Regulations (2015) continues, 18th October 2018 marked a significant shift away from offline procurement, as mandatory eProcurement (regulation 22) came into force. This effectively marks the end of physical (hard-copy) submissions for public sector organisations. As eProcurement experts, we can help you understand the regulations and what this means for public sector organisations.
What does Regulation 22 of the Public Contract Regulations cover?
All communication within public procurement processes must be electronic. This includes the submission of bids as well as the raising and responding to clarifications, as they are exchanged within the tender process.
The regulation includes any form of presentation, including site visits, that fall within the procurement process. In these circumstances, liability is with the procurers to document this electronically, including any specific detail. Video, audio or written summaries can be included in these circumstances.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes, but only in exceptional circumstances based on the below:
- The procurement requires the submission of models, or is so specialised that particular tools, devices, file formats are required.
- A data breach or security compromise has occurred and therefore the electronic portal/system is no longer secure.
- Information contained within the documents is particularly sensitive requiring a superior level of protection above and beyond that which an electronic system can provide.
Even these challenges are not insurmountable in an environment especially built for electronic procurement processes… read on….
What does this mean?
Moving towards eProcurement is a positive step for public sector organisations. It provides a secure central environment for the exchange and submission of commercially sensitive data in relation to all procurements.
Many contracting authorities already use electronic communication, however the key element in this regulation is ensuring the communication transfer is secure. Organisations regularly rely on email for procurement projects, which can be both insecure and uncontrollable.
For example, you may send information to the incorrect recipient or a message may be forwarded without your knowledge. These examples, alongside the introduction of Regulation 22, makes now the perfect time to review your processes and ensure your contracting organisation is fully compliant.
Our eProcurement solution, AWARD®, ensures that all the requirements of Regulation 22 are met. Even for the most complex tender management, the process is rendered more straight forward, with electronic submission built-in by design. The Supplier Interaction module provides a secure and streamlined mechanism for gathering bid information from suppliers, within a fully auditable environment that is presentable to evaluators. This, together with secure two-way communications between the buyer and supplier/s support ‘Clarifications’, ‘Notifications’ and ‘Queries’ complete with reporting.
In addition, the Dataroom module supports projects with a controlled and streamlined mechanism for gathering and publishing information to bidders and suppliers. For internal stakeholders, a portal automates system access based on user profiles, creating gated areas of the system or implementing a ‘read only’ mode, helping your organisation manage access to the data in the way you need to.
All this functionality is wrapped in an ISO-27001 and Cyber Security Plus certified management system, providing assurance that the structure and processes are in place to ensure that AWARD® and your data is secure.
To find out more about our comprehensive procurement and evaluation solution AWARD®, please download our data sheet here. Alternatively, get in touch below and one of our procurement experts will be in touch with you.
Regulation 22 material referenced from Bird & Bird here.