You Know Your Procurement Rules Are Onerous When

Even your public sector organizations are saying the rules are inflexible, complex, and onerous! Seems that the NHS, who need to find 50% more savings and make up to twenty billion pounds of efficiency savings by 2015, are heeding my advice that they need to stop buying like a government agency and have made a submission to the European Commision’s consultation stating that EU public procurement law should be amended to allow for greater negotiation with bidders during the selection and award process.

According to this recent article over on, the NHS Confederation has called for a significant increase of the threshold at which organisations are obliged to follow EU rules. The current level applies to many relatively small contracts, putting them through the same onerous tendering processes as ones worth many millions which, as I pointed out in my post on how the NHS can find 50% more savings, is moronic. When the bid is too low, you get organizations bidding that have mastered the art of the “change order”. They agree to do “X” where “X” sounds like it is what you want, but really isn’t, and then to get what you really want, because of the tight contract, you’ll have to pay a ridiculous amount in change order fees, and the result is that the net cost will be more than the highest bid, and significantly more than the lowest bid from a competent, honest, vendor.

Hopefully when the EU revises the regulations this summer, they’ll listen to the NHS request. Otherwise, there’s no way the NHS is going to find the savings it needs to continually reinvest in patient care, wait times are going to continue to go up, and quality of service is going to continue to go down.