The Dynamic Marketplace – a step forward for Government procurement and e-sourcing?
We looked at the Cabinet Office “Contracts Finder” last week, the portal that allows potential suppliers to look for bidding opportunities across central UK government. We felt it hadn’t really got going yet – there were very few contracts being advertised, hence there was limited value at the moment for small firms.
Then lo! As if by magic, Cabinet Office announced something that could prove much more useful for small firms bidding for Government work. However, just like Contracts Finder, the new “Dynamic Marketplace” (DM) is a good idea that may or may not actually work in practice. It all depends on whether government bodies will use it.
It links into the new Government e-Marketplace, provided by Procserve, that is a central feature of the new landscape for collaborative procurement across Whitehall. The Marketplace will contain catalogue type information to enable Departments to utilise centrally negotiated contracts. But the new initiative takes this a stage further.
Suppliers register to be part of the DM – you need a DUNS number first, which is available free of charge from Dun Bradstreet. Contracting authorities can then advertise for quotes for work up to the value of £100,000 on the Dynamic Marketplace. Suppliers then respond to opportunities as they arise, without having to re-enter all their standard PQQ type information. The sourcing exercise is then run electronically, and the platform will (we believe) process successful bids through order to invoice. The Dynamic Marketplace will be piloted over the next two months and, after the successful completion, will be launched across the rest of Central Government.
This bidding capability doesn’t exist within Contracts Finder, but the overall fit between CM and Contracts Finder isn’t very clear – there are still separte registration processes for example at the moment. But we understand that Government Procurement (John Collington’s team) is looking at how to integrate the two systems. In theory, Government opportunities over £10,000 should be advertised on Contracts Finder, including those that will be then run as RFQs issued via the Dynamic Marketplace. But as a government buyer, why I would bother using Contracts Finder if I’m running a RFQ through the DM?
Anyway, we’re off to register our consulting business now for our DUNS Number so we can sign up – we’ll let you know how it all works!