Loading...

New guidance document: Procurement after ‘no deal’

Figurines of construction workers move star on EU flag

As the political and legal situation around Brexit remains dynamic, the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union without a negotiated Withdrawal Agreement – a ‘no-deal Brexit’ – still exists. Until an alternative is legally formalised by both the UK and the remaining EU Member States, the current default position is for the UK to leave the EU without a deal.

Many businesses will have questions around the possible implications of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ and how they can prepare for this eventuality. Therefore, drawing on our 35 years of procurement experience, BiP Solutions is pleased to announce the publication of our new factsheet, ‘Procurement after “no deal”: What buyers and suppliers need to know about preparing for a “no deal Brexit” scenario.’

The seven-page document sets out clearly and simply the key questions that both buyers and suppliers are likely to have around the possibility of ‘no deal’ – and the current guidance that exists in these areas. The factsheet answers such questions as:

  • Where will public sector organisations publish tender notices if there is a ‘no deal Brexit’?
  • How might the procurement process change, and what will the effect be for supply chains?
  • Where will suppliers be able to find tender opportunities?
  • What steps will businesses need to take to continue to supply services to EU Member States?

Download your copy of the factsheet here.*

To view the latest procurement news and updates, visit BiP Solutions’ dedicated news and Brexit pages.

*Updates will follow to reflect the changing situation.

Business Growth in a Post-Brexit world

Many businesses may feel it is difficult to prepare for the coming months without knowing what will change on or after 29th March. Although the date the United Kingdom was scheduled to leave the European Union is fast approaching, it may seem that there is still relatively little certainty as to what Brexit means – either politically, or for business.

However, there are many areas of opportunity available to businesses regardless of the outcome of the coming weeks’ political decisions. Drawing on our 35 years of experience in public procurement, BiP Solutions have produced a new guidance document, ‘Opportunities and Trends for Business Growth in a Post-Brexit World.’ Drawing on recent announcements from the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, current guidance about the various possible outcomes for Brexit, and our expert knowledge of industry trends, the seven-page guidance document covers key areas that are set to provide multiple opportunities, both in the UK and across the world, over the months ahead.

Grahame Steed, Business Intelligence and e-Sourcing Director at BiP Solutions, said:

While the UK’s exit from the EU is creating a degree of uncertainty for businesses, the growth potential provided by the public sector at home and internationally remains vast. Now is the time to focus on identifying the right opportunities within this multi-billion pound sector, and engaging with the right organisations to ensure they are aware of what businesses can do to solve their challenges.

Read and download the latest guidance on upcoming trends and opportunities by clicking here.

To learn more about how BiP Solutions can help your business access opportunities in a range of sectors, visit www.bipsolutions.com.

BiP’s apprentices: where are they now?

Image result for national apprentice week

Here at BiP, we are strong supporters of the Modern Apprenticeship Programme. We have a proud history of developing apprentices throughout the business and have certainly reaped the benefits of doing so.

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we want to take this opportunity to reflect on the successes of our employees who joined the business through the programme.

Our apprentices – where are they now?

Scott McKechnie

Joined Business: September 2007

Apprenticeship programme: SVQ Level 3 Business Administration

Current role: Scott came into BiP as a Business Administrator and after completing his apprenticeship, moved to a role within our Helpdesk team. In 2012, Scott moved to our Public Sector Sales Team as a Customer Relationship Manager and progressed tremendously within the team. After spending a number of years as a Business Development Manager travelling all around the country to promote our services, Scott is now Sales Manager for the Public Sector Sales Team. What a success story!

Rory Denny

Joined business: November 2012

Apprenticeship programme: MVQ Level 3 marketing

Current role: After moving into the sales team of our Market Engagement division, Rory has now progressed to the role of Key Account Manager, driving revenue and managing strategic relationships with some of BiP Solutions’ key customer accounts.

Jodie Pratt

Joined business: January 2013

Apprenticeship programme: SVQ Level 3 Business Administration

Current role: Jodie currently works in our Accounts department as a Credit Controller and is undertaking training to become an accredited member of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).

Heather Cooper

Joined business: April 2014

Apprenticeship programme: Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship

Current role: Having moved into the role of an Editorial Assistant after her apprenticeship, Heather has now been a Senior Client Services Executive for the past two years, particularly overseeing our client research survey projects.

Kyle Dearie

Joined business: August 2014

Apprenticeship programme: SVQ Level 3 Business Administration

Current role: Kyle now works in our Accounts department as a Business Administrator. In 2018, Kyle also completed the Digital Applications Advanced Modern Apprenticeship programme to further develop his digital skillset.

Robert Gough

Joined business: November 2016

Apprenticeship programme: SVQ Level 3 Business Administration

Current role: Robert originally joined the business as a Credit Controller. After receiving his Business Administration qualification, Robert also completed the Digital Applications Advanced Modern Apprenticeship programme and has since progressed to the role of Data Analyst.

Laure McGill

Joined business: April 2017

Apprenticeship programme: SCQF 6 – Digital Applications Advanced Modern Apprenticeship

Current role: Laure now works in our Research team as a Content Researcher where she is responsible for producing and editing content for a number of our business intelligence solutions.

Paul Docherty

Joined business: July 2017

Apprenticeship programme: SCQF 6 – Digital Applications Advanced Modern Apprenticeship

Current role: After 18 months of working in our Research team, Paul has now progressed to the role of Technical Helpdesk Advisor with responsibility for first line user support on our portfolio of products and services.

Christopher Doolan

Joined business: April 2018

Apprenticeship programme: SCQF 6 – Digital Applications Advanced Modern Apprenticeship

Current role: Chris, whilst working in our Accounts team as a Business Administrator, is currently in the process of completing the programme with one more module to go – nearly there Chris!

Each of these individuals demonstrate the importance, contribution and value of the Modern Apprentice model within the business. We look forward to the continued development of these employees as they develop their career within BiP!

To learn more about our business, roles that are currently available and apprenticeship opportunities, visit our Careers page.

Registration necessary to work with EU after Brexit

Woman at verify login page on computer screen

As preparations for the UK’s departure from the EU intensify, procurement professionals should ensure they are aware of the requirements to register for an Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) number.

Late February’s announcement that UK businesses will be able to continue to trade with members of the GPA in the event of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ is undoubtedly welcome. However, businesses need to take steps to make sure that they will individually be able to do business internationally after 29th March. The primary requirement for businesses looking to continue to work with the EU will be to have an EORI number.

An EORI number is a requirement for moving goods into or out of the EU. The purpose of an EORI number is to allow HMRC to identify your company and collect the appropriate duties. If you do not have an EORI number, you may face delays and even increased costs, for example storage fees if HMRC cannot clear the goods involved in your transaction.

In the event that the UK leaves the European Union without a negotiated deal, you will need an EORI number to continue trading with the EU. This requirement will be effective as of ‘exit day.’

You can apply for an EORI number now even if you do not use it. While the situation around a potential deal between the UK and EU remains dynamic, the possibility of ‘no deal’ means that businesses that currently work with the EU may want to consider the importance of an EORI number. The Government advises that the application process should take less than ten minutes. Ensure that you have all the information you need to apply by viewing the Government’s advice here.

To learn more about how public procurement could be affected by various possible Brexit scenarios, click here to view BiP’s updated factsheet, ‘Procurement After Brexit: Deal or No Deal.’

BiP Solutions launches second report in series exploring local government procurement

New market report considers local government trends, challenges and opportunities in a digital world

Download your exclusive copy of the report here.

Today, BiP Solutions is pleased to launch the second in our series of reports focusing on the changing landscape of public sector procurement. Our latest report considers the impact of this changing landscape for local government in an ever-evolving digital world.

The publishing of the Government’s Transformation Strategy effectively kickstarted the journey of digital transformation for Government with many local authorities taking advantage of the components available to them through GOV.UK.

In fact, across local government today, digital transformation is playing a significant role in meeting the needs and expectations of citizens. In light of this, our report considers the key digital trends and innovative approaches transforming service delivery for citizens. It also considers current spend within local government, with a particular focus on IT/Digital spend, and also draws on findings from recent research conducted by our colleagues at iGov Survey to highlight the specific procurement challenges and opportunities facing local government and the wider public sector.

Eddie Regan, PASS Training Consultant at BiP Solutions, said of this research:

The timing of the latest iGov Survey is quite appropriate, given the current uncertainty about Brexit and the continual questions about what impact it may or may not have on public procurement.

Early engagement, innovation and emerging new technologies all have a massive role to play in the future direction of public procurement. The public sector cannot afford to fall behind and this research highlights that whilst the sector is moving in the right direction, more does need to be done to upskill procurement teams and develop effective supplier relationships that deliver true value for all involvement in the procurement process, including and not forgetting, service users.’

Our report also reflects on our recent Procurex Events in Wales and Scotland and considers key ways take to get ahead if you are looking to tap into the local government marketplace, regardless of your prior experience of procurement.

To read the report in full, please access your personal copy here.

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

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.

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.

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

Ingenium Set to Deliver Digital Services for the Crown Commercial Service

digital - Ingenium IDS

In April, BiP announced the launch of our new North of England office in the Media City area of Manchester, which is now home to two of the BiP Group’s brands, Ingenium and Promark Media.

Over the past eight months, the Glasgow and Manchester offices have been working increasingly closely and we are delighted with the process so far.

Ingenium has recently announced some exciting news.  The team in Manchester has been contracted to deliver digital services for the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and will be creating a database for them. This innovative new project will support the delivery of a series of targeted e-marketing campaigns, designed to raise the profile of CCS.

What does Ingenium do?

Ingenium IDS specialises in lead generation, content creation, data, surveys and online events. The team has a list of high-profile clients including BT, Capita, KPMG, Deloitte, Hays, Apple and IBM.

Ingenium IDS is an established brand and has been helping businesses to communicate successfully with the UK public sector via digital marketing for over ten years. Unlike other digital specialists, Ingenium IDS works across all industries, combining data excellence with purpose-built technology.

What’s Next?

This new project will promote CCS across sectors including local government, the NHS, education, housing associations, and charities.

CCS-Logo

Sam Gilding, Head of Sales at Ingenium IDS, is incredibly pleased with the contract win.

“In September 2017, Ingenium IDS was invited to respond to a Crown Commercial Service (CCS) mini-competition. CCS was interested in contracting with a supplier that could provide licensed access to a third-party database of organisation and individual contacts across the whole of the public sector.

I’m delighted to share that Ingenium delivered a response that demonstrated, coverage, quality and compliance and has now contracted to deliver this service.”

To find out more about BiP’s products and services, please visit our website.

Securing public and private cyberspace: Procurex Wales

cyber security

A recent report from McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC estimated that globally cyber crime costs $400 billion a year. Here – ahead of his talk at Procurex Wales – Paul Clarke, Managing Director of cyber security firm Xenubis, tells BiP journalist Julie Shennan how the threat is evolving and what the supply chain can do to tackle it.

Xenubis is a global IT firm that provides intelligence and security solutions to identify cyber espionage and criminal activity across the physical, human and digital dimensions. Managing Director Paul Clarke is a passionate advocate of cyber awareness, speaking at events such as DPRTE and Procurex Wales on the topic.

Mr Clarke’s concern is well reasoned; earlier this year internet service provider (ISP) Beaming surveyed over 500 UK firms and found that one in eight had suffered malware attacks costing an average of £10,516 to manage.

Mr Clarke noted: That is only the cost that we know of; a lot of companies don’t make their breaches or attacks public knowledge. This cost also does not count the effects on reputation and customer confidence.”

He went on to explain that globally cyber crime was outpacing traditional crime.

He said: “It is bigger than the global drugs trade. Cyber crime is more convenient to criminals than analogue crime; they don’t have to leave home or smuggle anything, so there is no way that the criminals are going to stop committing it.”

Hacktivist culture is also making cyber breaches easier to commit.

Mr Clarke warned: “Cyber attackers’ skills and tools are more advanced than ever; you can go to the Dark Net now and get a hackers kit which comes equipped with a fully managed helpdesk, allowing people with no experience to attempt a breach. So the threat is not now just from state-sponsored activists, it is also from organised criminals and collectives, such as Anonymous, who might have other motives.”

This increasing range of hacker types, Mr Clarke observed, is facilitated by the mobilisation of the Internet of Things. “The increasing connectivity of smartphones will in turn provide an increased marketplace for criminals,” he cautioned.

“So if you are thinking of making your business mobile-responsive then you need to think about cyber risk and cyber security. This threat is not going to go away; it is just going to get more advanced.”

Mr Clarke speaks from years of experience – having worked as a security advisor to government, as a private cyber security consultant and as a former Serviceman. However, he explained that the facts of the cyber threat were plain for all to see.

He said: “There is a lot of information out there on cyber breaches; TalkTalk, LinkedIn and the Panama Papers data leak all show how common cyber attacks are. Every bit of information in the news shows that the cyber threat is real and will affect most people at some point.”  

SMEs, Mr Clarke added, are no exception.

He emphasised: “SMEs, especially non-finance SMEs, might be tempted to think that they are too insignificant to be targeted, but this not the case. Money is going lost in normal transactions and through breaches of customers’ emails.”

With that in mind Mr Clarke urged suppliers of all sizes to invest in good cyber security.

He said: “The threat is real; it’s a case of when not if an attacker will target your company. Companies need to approach the topic of cyber security, understand how cyber threats manifest themselves in their business and how they can protect themselves at the highest level possible.”

This means prime contractors examining their whole supply chain and identifying any soft spots that hackers could target. “Attackers will target the easiest route into this supply chain, so it is up to the prime contractors to ensure that their partners are protected,” he explained.

Mr Clarke also urged the CEOs of all companies to take ownership of their organisation’s cyber security.

He said: “CEOs must start from the top down and implement education, training and awareness to ensure that everything possible is being done to protect data, money and reputation.

CEOs and senior executives need to understand that it is up to them to protect their own and their customers’ data by mitigating risk. Ministers are now discussing the consequences for company leaders who do not protect their data, such as fines from regulatory boards.”

While cyber security failures could be cause for punishment, cyber vigilance could equally be cause for reward, with the Government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme (CES) recognising responsible organisations.

Mr Clarke explained: “If you want to be on government supply chains you need to ensure you are signed up to the Cyber Essential programme. You must also ensure your IT team have the relevant external tools – to understand where the cyber threat come from and how to mitigate the threat – and if the IT team don’t have these tools then they must outsource them.”

Mr Clarke recognises the UK cyber skills shortage, saying not enough operational and academic training is currently on offer – to the right people – to tackle the cyber threat head-on. However, he remains optimistic that the public and private sectors can work together to make up this shortfall.

He concluded: “Government should work with the private sector to help suppliers raise awareness, increase compliance with Cyber Essentials and increase access to cyber protection tools.”

For more information come to see Mr Clarke speak at Procurex Wales Digital Procurement Zone    on 6 October 2016.