Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Supplier Challenges


Authored by Claire Sexton

Reluctantly I am writing a short post which is actually a bit of a moan....however it is a moan that I am sure plenty in the procurement world will identify with; the subject being - supplier challenges.

Is it just me, or does there appear to be an epidemic of supplier challenges lately?  BravoSolution have a significant number of customers within the public sector and regulated environment, and as such regularly hear tales of suppliers kicking up a fuss when a contract award doesn’t go their way.  Admittedly, the buying organizations don’t always get away with being blame-free; there are cases where procurement processes aren’t followed properly, evaluation criteria and approach is incorrect and best practice appears to go out of the window, however suppliers seem to be actively looking for opportunities to challenge before the procurement process has come to a close!

The rise in the number of supplier challenges going to court is something buying organizations in the Public Sector will continue to lose sleep over. Challenges can not only be costly, but they also take a long time to resolve which impacts a significant delay to the award of contracts. Since changes were made to the Remedies Directive in December 2009, buyers now need to be even more vigilant about providing the correct information to the suppliers that are unsuccessful in a procurement competition.  These new rules have made it much easier for suppliers to challenge as they are actively looking for potential mistakes in the procurement process.

So the message may be that procuring entities need to ensure that their processes and approaches are ‘water tight’ to avoid the risk of supplier challenge, but likewise it would be nice to see the suppliers making the effort to submit a ‘water tight’ bid that stands a chance of being successful, rather than looking for the opportunity of delaying or even destroying the contracting process.

 

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