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Brexit latest: publishing contracts if there’s no deal

Crowds representing UK and EU flags

After a tumultuous week in Westminster, the situation surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU continues to be dynamic. Although the ‘meaningful vote’ of 15th January has now taken place, and the Government has survived a no-confidence vote,  much remains to be decided and clarified – not least before the next vote, currently scheduled for 29th January.

However, preparations are underway for various outcomes, and what their effect will be for public procurement in the UK. At BiP Solutions, we are working hard behind the scenes to ensure it continues to be ‘business as usual’ for our customers post 29th March and are pleased to share the update below.

What has the Government said about ‘no deal’?

As previously described in a technical note published in September, the Government has stated that it will ensure that the regulation for public procurement will continue to function in the “unlikely event” of a ‘no-deal’ exit. Current regulations will be adapted as necessary to remain in operation, should this situation arise. The Government reassures that most procurement regulations “will remain exactly the same.”

What might change?

If the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal deal being agreed, the key change for public procurement will be that contracting authorities would be required to send notices to a new, UK-specific e-notification service. This would replace the need to send to the EU Publications Office and Tenders Electronic Daily. Advertising in Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI would remain a requirement, as is currently the case.

As a leading e-Sender, BiP Solutions has been working closely with the Cabinet Office to develop this new service.

What will reduce the level of action needed?

As we understand the Cabinet Office’s current guidance, contracting authorities which currently use an ‘e-Sender’, a third-party provider, to submit publications to the EU Publications Office will be able to continue with this approach, regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations. However, this is dependent on e-Senders also completing the integration process to send notices to the new UK-specific e-notification service, should this be enacted.

Simon Burges, CEO of BiP Solutions, said:

I am delighted to say that BiP Solutions were one of the first e-Senders in the UK to confirm to the Cabinet Office that we will integrate our services with the new UK e-notification service. This is great news for our customers, since any authority working with BiP will need to take very little action to change their current method of publishing contracts, unlike other e-Senders who may be required to publish notices manually.

This year, we celebrate our 35th anniversary and whilst our operation has grown considerably in size and scope over the years, our core values remain unchanged. We will continue to remain at the heart of the buyer/supplier relationship and support our customers through all stages of their procurement journey, and that includes providing advice and guidance – deal or no deal.

Contracting authorities who work with other e-Senders or who submit their notices directly to the EU Publication Office may need to publish their notices manually to the new UK notification service. Information as to how to do this has not yet been released, meaning that these organisations will have to await further advice depending on future developments.

To find out more about how BiP Solutions can help with your contract and tendering needs, visit www.bipsolutions.com or call (+44) 0141 332 8247.

New digital paths for health, work and business a major focus within the NHS Long Term Plan

Hospital working working on tablet computer

Earlier this month, the NHS published its Long Term Plan. The Plan details how the £20.5 billion budget settlement for the NHS, confirmed in the summer of last year, will be spent over the next five years.

For patients, the Plan focuses on delivering ‘the best start in life’ for everyone, community health, and allowing people to age well. From the perspective of the NHS itself, the Plan will focus on driving efficiency, both in terms of organisation and affording individual workers easier and more effective working practices.

A major focus of the Plan concerns digital transformation. This will include such innovations as the NHS App, allowing for a single way for patients to identify themselves across a range of local and national services.

Associated apps and digital solutions will no doubt be embraced wholeheartedly by a range of NHS institutions, as a recent iGov Survey found that 72% of respondents from the NHS would like to deliver patient health apps as part of their Wi-Fi solution, while more than two-thirds stated that patient access to online appointment bookings will be beneficial.

At BiP Solutions, we recognise both the challenges and opportunities presented by digital transformation facing healthcare buyers and suppliers today.

In fact, our most recent report considered the digital trends and innovative approaches playing a significant role in today’s NHS through boosting efficiencies and, crucially, saving lives. You can access a complimentary copy here.

It’s no secret that the NHS is a hugely complex organisation, with hundreds of separate but connected organisations, and navigating the ways they link, share information and work together can sometimes be difficult for NHS staff, let alone those seeking to work with NHS trusts. The digital transformation element of the Long Term Plan promises to ease the burden of the NHS’ complexity for patients and staff.

If you’re looking to cut through the difficulties of understanding how NHS organisations are related and talk to the right person to do business with, BiP Solutions’ Ingenium community can help. Our data community holds contact details for all senior decision-makers throughout the NHS, which we combine with a deep understanding of the NHS’ structure to deliver relevant and engaging digital marketing campaigns.

The Long Term Plan will reshape many NHS working practices, the ways patients interact with the NHS, and the way that business is done too. For businesses, it’ll therefore be important to keep up-to-date with the latest developments, as changes are set to happen throughout the NHS supply chain. An easy way for businesses to ensure they’re staying abreast of the latest changes is through Tracker’s business intelligence modules which offer an easy one-stop, complete source of information on public sector procurement.

Additionally, a major element of the Plan’s overhaul of working methods will be further innovations in terms of technology and equipment needed. For example, the Plan’s stated aims include new ways of managing and storing data, as well as novel methods of treating patients and providing care. With innovation a primary concern, it’s important that businesses are able to join conversations with NHS buyers earlier, to ensure that they can gain a real understanding of the requirement – or even shape discussion about the solution needed.

In fact, Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer and Non-Executive Director at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), said at our recent Procurex Scotland event that “early engagement is absolutely crucial.” He also noted that both buyers and suppliers should be encouraged to engage earlier to get the best out of a procurement exercise:

“If we don’t engage with the market, we won’t understand what the market can offer or what suppliers have developed for a different buyer elsewhere in the country. If we do not talk to suppliers then we miss out on opportunities and we will end up trying to procure something that they may not be able to deliver.”

How we can help

As mentioned before, Ingenium can put businesses in touch with key NHS stakeholders ahead of the tender process, helping conversations happen earlier.

Additionally, Tracker aids early engagement, thanks to easy viewing of upcoming contract renewals and recurring projects through ‘Market Leads’, meaning businesses can discuss these needs ahead of tender publication. Meanwhile, Tracker’s ‘Spend Analysis’ allows for an overview of what organisations are spending and with whom – helping businesses to shape future discussions by understanding how individual NHS trusts spend and work.

The transformation of the NHS via the Long Term Plan looks set to radically overhaul the way that the NHS, patients and businesses interact. We look forward to working digitally together with the NHS as the Plan unfolds.

Further reading

View the Long Term Plan here.

Access our latest Healthcare market report here.

To find out more about our solutions, please visit: www.bipsolutions.com

Scottish Budget 2018

Against the backdrop of uncertainty caused by the UK’s impending exit from the European Union, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP has delivered the 2018 Scottish Budget (December 12th).

Describing it as a “fair and progressive budget” Derek Mackay presented a business-friendly package, while placing the protection of public services at the heart of this Budget Statement.

Below you can find a breakdown of key Scottish Budget 2018 figures in addition to which public sector opportunities await your industry.

SME

A £50 million ‘Town Centre Fund’ will provide much needed support for Scotland’s high streets. There will also be a cap put on business rates below inflation, providing a tax cut for small businesses, which Mackay described as “the most generous system anywhere in the UK”. The partnership between the private sector and the Scottish Government has played an important role in recent years, which was championed by the Cabinet Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills Jamie Hepburn MSP at Procurex Scotland, in which he encouraged businesses to consider the welfare of local communities and the environment, calling on suppliers to “not be risk averse”.

Housing

An investment of £825 million -as part of an overall fund of £3 billion- will help deliver 50,000 affordable homes over the course of this parliament, which has been the cornerstone of Housing Minister Kevin Stewart’s construction agenda.

Education

Describing education as the Scottish Government’s “defining mission”, the Finance Secretary set out bold new proposals for Scottish schools. £180m will be used to close the attainment gap, including £120m, which will be directed towards headteacher budgets through ‘Pupil Equity Funding’. £600m will also be given to colleges and £1 billion has been secured for Scotland’s world-class universities. £214m has been set aside for apprenticeships and skills; providing a gateway in to employment for many of Scotland’s young people.

Healthcare

An increase of £730m will be provided to NHS Scotland, which is the equivalent to hiring 19,000 nurses, as Derek Mackay confirmed “health is a top priority for the government”, which accounts for almost half of the Scottish Government’s overall spending.

Local Government

The Scottish Government will provide “a real terms increase in the total local government settlement of over £210m” Mackay said, taking the local government budget to £11.1 billion. This will be welcome news for Fife Council executive director Keith Winter, who was a keynote speaker at Procurex Scotland, where he championed “social justice” as he encouraged councillors to adopt a global strategy moving forward.

GO Awards Scotland 2018/19: Celebrating Excellence in Public Procurement

Finalists took to the stage at the prestigious GO Awards Scotland 2018 event at Glasgow’s Marriott Hotel on 23 October 2018, to celebrate the people behind the country’s procurement success.

Among the guests were public sector buyers and their suppliers, continuing conversations that started earlier that day at Procurex Scotland, held in the SEC Glasgow.

This year, the GO Awards ceremony formed the glittering climax to Scotland’s Festival of Procurement and welcomed over 500 delegates from the Scottish public procurement community and its suppliers, who went head to head to win a coveted GO Award.

The GO Awards ceremony was hosted by BBC Scotland presenter Catriona Renton, who guided guests through the evening of presentations. Her first acknowledgement was of the hard work of this year’s judges:

Ainslie McLaughlin – Director of Procurement and Commercial, Scottish Government

Nikki Bell – Head of Commercial Policy & Project Assurance, Scottish Government

Martin Street – Strategic Sourcing Director, NHS National Services Scotland

Hugh Carr – Head of Strategic Procurement, Scotland Excel

Stephen Richardson – Head of eSolutions & CIO, APUC Ltd

Eddie Regan – Principal Procurement Consultant, PASS

The judging panel had to select winners and highly commended entrants from organisations across Scotland in twelve categories. Winners were announced in the following categories:

GO Best Service Award: Medium & Large Organisations – Warmworks Scotland

GO Best Service Award: Micro and Small Businesses and Third Sector Organisations – Re-Tek UK Ltd

GO Infrastructure Project of the Year Award – Transport Scotland (For entry: Forth Replacement Crossing)

GO Procurement Innovation of the Year Award: Taking the procurement function forward – University of Strathclyde, DHI, NHS NSS, Scottish Government

GO Procurement Leadership of the Year Award – Angus Council

GO Procurement Project of the &ear award (above £20m value) – Police Scotland

GO Procurement Project of the Year award (sub-£20m value) – Renfrewshire Council

GO Procurement Team of the Year Award: Central Government & Healthcare Organisations – NHS Scotland National Procurement Equipping Sourcing Team, working with NSS Health Facilities Scotland Equipping Team

GO Procurement Team of the Year Award: Local Government & Other Organisations – University of Strathclyde

GO Social and Community Benefit in Procurement Award Other Organisations – University of Edinburgh

GO Social and Community Benefit in Procurement Award: Central Government & Local Authorities – Scottish Government – SG Procurement, Contract Management & Capability Team

GO Emerging Procurement Talent Award – Scotland Excel

GO Excellence Scotland Award 2018/19 – Transport Scotland (For entry: Forth Replacement Crossing)

go awards tweets

The GO Awards Scotland Excellence Award was new for 2018/19 and, unlike the other categories, applicants cannot enter – as it recognises the very best overall submission drawn from each of the winners in this year’s Awards.

This category recognised the best of the best and the submission that most clearly demonstrated progress, innovation and achievement was the winner Transport Scotland for the Forth Replacement Crossing project.

When the Excellence Award was presented, Ms Renton praised the winner for all their effort:

“Congratulations to the team at Transport Scotland for their work on a now iconic Scottish structure. An outstanding achievement given the overall quality of this year’s Awards – a job very well done.”

Overall, the event was a tremendous success as guests also enjoyed a three-course meal and entertainment from celebrity magician Paul Martin.

Grahame Steed, Business Intelligence and eSourcing Director at BiP Solutions (event organiser) and GO Awards host, said:

“It’s been another tremendous year for the GO Awards Scotland, with many new entrants and returning organisations playing their part in driving up standards and innovation within public procurement. Well done to each of our finalists, and congratulations to those who have received one of the highly coveted GO Awards trophies – we look forward to even more competition next year!”

BiP would like to thank their event partner the Scottish Government and this year’s main event sponsors Orbis, Pertemps, Drummond Bridge, Pulsant and Simon Driscoll Consultancy Ltd.

To learn more about the National GO Awards National 2018/19, visit the GO Awards

BiP Solutions is GDPR and PECR Compliant

GDPR BiP

BiP and Compliance with GDPR and PECR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), effective from 25 May 2018, governs the processing of personal information.

Given the varied nature of data we process in support of customers’ activities, we have audited and updated our processes to ensure we comply with the requirements of GDPR. As a result, BiP operates in compliance with this new legislation.

GDPR does not require BiP customers to stop using or to change how they use our services, if what was being done before was lawful.

Read our full GDPR policy here

Our best look yet: Visit the new BiP Corporate website

As the leading provider of procurement support and intelligence it is important to us that our own website represents exactly what our business does.

Our business provides a range of unique online tools used by procurement professionals across the public and private sector. Innovation as at the heart of what we do, so why wouldn’t we start by making improvements to our core company website?

30 years in the making…

A lot has changed since we started over 30 years ago. The BiP brand has expanded recently with the acquisition of Promark and Ingenium, and the new and improved website reflects this, with areas focused on:

  • Business Intelligence
  • eSourcing
  • Accreditation
  • Events/Consultancy
  • Media and Marketing Solutions
  • eProcurement & Supply Chain Services

Users entering the BiP Corporate website can now instantly access the area which is the most relevant to them in just a couple of clicks!

Still passionate about what we do

The people behind our business have passion for what we do and are determined always to exceed customer expectations through constant innovation. Several months, drafts and small details later, our team has arrived at the final result!

Employees across the business have worked hard on the new website, ensuring that website content and functionality run seamlessly.

The new website not only offers an enhanced user journey but also gives those using the site access to the most accurate information from experts in the field.

Tell us what you think!

BiP has always valued the feedback of our customers, business partners and employees and we always will! That is why our team invite you to view the new and improved BiP website.

We aim to create an online space which is both welcoming and user friendly, somewhere that our valued customers, partners and employees can access information about our business whenever they require it.

If you would like to share your opinions on the new website with us, contact us via email at info@bipsolutions.com.

Keep in touch

We are constantly updating our news and resources section. Our in-house content creators can help you stay up to date with all the most important procurement news not just in the UK but across the world.

Welcome to BiP – Supply2Gov Ireland

Supply2Gov Ireland

Supply2Gov Ireland, which launched last week, aims to help Irish businesses win tenders in Ireland and expand into the UK market.

Simon Burges, BiP Chief Executive Officer, is delighted to release the latest BiP brand:

“There has never been a better time to consider working with public sector. The launch of the free to register Supply2Gov Ireland service provides small and micro businesses and sole traders with an unprecedented opportunity to access thousands of public procurement opportunities from across Ireland, in addition to being able to connect directly with the UK public sector, valued at over €270 billion annually.”

The Supply2Gov subscription levels give customers the freedom to pick and mix the tender plans that are right for their business.

Users can start with the FREE Ready To Take Flight subscription. This will give them access to tenders from the Irish local area of their choice!

Would you like to access the €12 billion the Irish government spends every year on goods and services? Sign up to Supply2Gov Ireland today!

Procurex Ireland

Supply2Gov Ireland will be attending the Procurex Ireland event at RDS Dublin on 26 April 2018. BiP CEO Simon Burges notes:

“The expansion of the S2G service within Ireland further supports and demonstrates our growth ambitions moving forward, especially within Ireland.”

Tickets for the Procurex Ireland 2018 showcase are FREE for public sector delegates and cost just €95 for the private sector.

About BiP Solutions

BiP Solutions is a leading provider of business intelligence services for organisations of all sizes. With over 30 years’ experience working with both buyers and suppliers, BiP helps businesses to identify and win contracts with both the public and private sector.

BiP brands include the Tracker business intelligence service and Delta eSourcing solution for public sector buyers, as well as Defence Contracts International (DCI), training and consultancy provider PASS Procurement and a procurement-related events portfolio covering defence, health and the wider public sector.

For more information on the BiP Group, please visit www.bipsolutions.com.

For additional information, please contact:

Melissa Russell

Supply2Gov Senior Marketing Executive

melissa.russell@bipsolutions.com

Micro businesses register with new tender alerts service Supply2Gov

It has been over a week since we launched our new brand Supply2Gov. The tender alerts service for sole traders and micro businesses aims to make the public sector marketplace more accessible to smaller businesses.

Registration for the new service is currently free. If you want to find out more, we have all the details below.

Designed for micro and small businesses

Supply2Gov is a fresh and friendly brand that talks to micro and small businesses about the benefits of public procurement. Supply2Gov users can create new and lucrative revenue streams from the public sector supply chain.

With a modern look and feel, Supply2Gov can be a free and easy way for micro businesses to find more tender opportunities. Our application simplifies the whole registration process and presents an intuitive customer journey.

Flexible payment options

Completely new to the market, Supply2Gov tender alerts gives customers the option to ‘pay as they grow’, with a cost-effective monthly plan as well as a new biannual option.

This means customers have the scalability to work with a solution that’s aligned with their business model and suits their cash flow.

Coverage Options

BiP has introduced simplified and comprehensive coverage options, with Supply2Gov starting with free local area coverage and then moving directly to home country cover.

This gives customers full free access to relevant opportunities on their doorstep with the option to upgrade and access their regional market opportunity.

With more growth potential available and payment plans to support phased expansion, the new Supply2Gov is an excellent introductory solution for micro businesses and sole traders looking to break into the public sector marketplace.

Tender alerts for micro businesses

The team behind the brand are delighted with the final product and are excited to see that many sole traders and micro businesses are already interested in the tender alerts service.

Senior Marketing Executive Melissa Russell says: “Our team are all really excited to see Supply2Gov go to market and really kick off 2018.

“We know how time-consuming tender searches can be, especially if you’re a small business. That’s why we’ve made it as easy as possible for users to find procurement opportunities as soon as they become available.”

Reduce the amount of time your business spends on manual searching with Supply2Gov. Find out more about Supply2Gov and tender alerts on the brand’s website.

For a better insight into all our brands, visit our website.

BiP Group expands reach with new Manchester office

BiP Group expands reach with new Manchester office

bip-group-manchester

The BiP Group, a leading provider of business intelligence solutions for the public and private sectors, is pleased to announce the launch of its new North of England office in the Media City area of Manchester to accommodate the company’s continued growth.

The new building, named Pacific House, will be open for business on 22 May. It will house two of the BiP Group’s brands, Ingenium and Promark Media, which have been acquired over the last two years.

Ingenium, which employs 35 staff and was previously based in Stockport, is a specialist in lead generation, content creation, data, surveys and online events, with clients including BT, Capita, KPMG, Deloitte, Hays, Apple and IBM.

Promark Media, which employs 30 staff and was previously based in Chorley, is one of the UK’s leading construction media companies with an established portfolio of digital magazines and online channels.

The bringing together of these brands in one central location will support BiP Group’s ambitious growth plans for them; as well as providing a presence in the North of England for other BiP brands.

A modern, open and well-located office, Pacific House represents a significant investment for the BiP Group and underlines our confidence in the future of our Manchester-based businesses.

Simon Burges, CEO of the BiP Group, said:

 I am delighted to announce the launch of BiP’s new North of England office in the Media City area of Manchester.

“The decision to expand our business presence into Manchester, and bring both of our recent acquisitions into one central location, was the next logical step in our growth and development strategy.

“Media City is a business growth area and our new location in Manchester will provide an excellent opportunity to further develop and expand our footprint across the North of England.”

Grahame Steed, Managing Director of Media and Marketing Solutions at BiP said:

 This is an exciting opportunity and one that gives us the space to grow and develop these businesses; each of which has tremendous potential.”

Chambers of Commerce: Put practicality, certainty at the heart of Brexit negotiations

As the Chamber Network gathers in Westminster for the BCC Annual Conference, the British Chambers of Commerce has published a business blueprint for the UK government ahead of the upcoming Brexit negotiations.eu_jigsaw_5820193Med

Titled Business Brexit Priorities, the report synthesizes feedback from over 400 businesses at 16 Chamber-hosted focus groups, along with nearly 20,000 responses to Chamber surveys. It puts forward priorities for action across seven key areas where business communities want practical solutions and certainty.

BCC evidence confirms that Europe will remain a key market for UK exporters and importers well into the future. As a consequence, it is imperative that the government achieves a pragmatic UK-EU deal that facilitates continued trade.

The key recommendations in the report are:

  • On the Labour Market, the government should provide certainty for businesses on the residence rights of their existing EU workers, provide clarity on hiring from EU countries during the negotiation period, and avoid expensive and bureaucratic processes for post-Brexit hires from the EU
  • On Trade, the government should aim to minimise tariffs, seek to avoid costly non-tariff barriers, grandfather existing EU free trade agreements with third countries, and expand the trade mission programme
  • On Customs, the government should develop future customs procedures at the UK border in partnership with business, seek to maintain the UK’s position as an entry point for global businesses to Europe
  • On Tax, the government should guarantee that HMRC is appropriately resourced to help businesses through the transition process, and provide clarity on whether VAT legislation will continue to mirror current core VAT principles
  • On Regulation, the government should ensure stability by incorporating existing EU regulations into UK law and maintaining these for a minimum period following Brexit, and ensure that product standards are aligned with, and recognised by, the EU to keep UK products competitive
  • On EU funding, the government should maintain UK access to the European Investment Bank, and ensure there is no funding ‘cliff-edge’ for areas in receipt of EU funding
  • On Northern Ireland, the government must avoid any return to a hard border, so that businesses can move people and goods as freely as possible.

Commenting on the report, Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said:

“Business communities across the UK want practical considerations, not ideology or politics, at the heart of the government’s approach to Brexit negotiations.

What’s debated in Westminster often isn’t what matters for most businesses. Most firms care little about the exact process for triggering Article 50, but they care a lot about an unexpected VAT hit to their cash flow, sudden changes to regulation, the inability to recruit the right people for the job, or if their products are stopped by customs authorities at the border. The everyday nitty-gritty of doing business across borders must be front and centre in the negotiation process.

What’s also clear is that the eventual Brexit deal is far from the only thing on the minds of the UK’s business communities. An ambitious domestic agenda for business and the economy is also essential so that business can drive our post-Brexit success. Firms across the UK want a clear assurance that Brexit isn’t going to be the only thing on the government’s economic agenda for the next few years.”