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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.

BiP Solutions’ expansion plans continue with Ingenium IDS acquisition

PartnershipLogosGlasgow-based BiP Solutions has today acquired data marketing experts Ingenium IDS Ltd. This acquisition is a perfect match for BiP which, for more than 30 years, has led the way in helping the public and private sectors work together. Ingenium IDS is a leading provider of advanced data marketing services including lead generation, content creation, data, surveys and online events that help deliver the right messages, to the right people, at the right time.

This latest acquisition, following its purchase of Promark Media in 2015, further strengthens BiP’s leading position as a provider of services that create value for buyers and suppliers at every stage of the supply chain.

CEO of BiP Solutions, Simon Burges, said: “This is an important step for the BiP Group and is a clear demonstration of our ongoing commitment to invest in and grow the business. Ingenium IDS has developed a fantastic range of innovative products and services that through this strategic acquisition will provide many benefits to the BiP Group and its customers. It’s a perfect fit and I am delighted to welcome their staff and senior management team into the BiP family.”

Director of Ingenium IDS, David Cross, said: “We are proud of what we have achieved over the last ten years in helping our clients to secure meaningful long-term business across the public sector, which started as a result of a marketing campaign initiated by ourselves. We are excited to join the BiP Group of companies which will allow us to grow and innovate to achieve outstanding results for our current and future clients.”

Since 2005 Ingenium IDS has helped companies to successfully market and generate demand for their products and services into different parts of the public sector, including Central and Local Government, Healthcare and Education. More recently they have extended their reach into the enterprise private sector space. Ingenium IDS addresses the challenges faced by sales and marketing departments to identify key organisations and stakeholders and to use tailored digital communications as a platform for demand creation.

Their services include:

  • Audience Generation for Events
  • Driving Whitepaper/Case Study Downloads
  • Independent Online Surveys
  • CRM Database Audit, Cleanse and Append

Ingenium IDS achieves outstanding results for its clients with a focus on transparent and measurable outcomes.

Contact Details:

Kenny Brogan

Head of Marketing

BiP Solutions

E – kenny.brogan@bipsolutions.com

T – 0141 270 7613

EU Referendum: Business Finance Implications

EU Referendum

Rely on facts not feelings

With just two weeks until the EU Referendum vote have you considered how it will affect the money you make?

Both SMEs and large corporations need business finance to grow and employ new staff, functions that will be impacted should access to this finance change.

Both sides of the EU Referendum debate claim that cash flow will rise – or at least not fall – should voters back them. Theses arguments are analysed in BiP Solutions White Paper EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business. The White Paper examines the referendum and its potential implications for UK exports, trade arrangements, business finance, procurement legislation and jobs – all of which will affect the country’s livelihood.

Here’s a sneak peek at the fourth  chapter of EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business – covering Business Finance.

Pro-Brexit commentators argue that high street banks have traditionally provided the major source of SME finance and that this arrangement would be unaffected by a Brexit, as Centre for European Policy Studies Director, Daniel Gros, reflected in the Guardian newspaper.

He said: “Finance to SMEs – and households – is usually provided by local retail banks. In this sense there is no reason why leaving the EU would have a material impact on the availability of finance for SMEs.

“Part of the UK’s retail banking system is owned by EU banks. This investment would of course have a different legal status after Brexit, but presumably the change in legal status would not have a direct impact on retail operations, such as lending to SMEs.”

They also cite the increasingly intercontinental nature of foreign direct investment in the UK, which they argue would largely be unaffected by a Brexit.

However, pro-Europe campaigners forecast that leaving the EU would cause economic uncertainty and devalue UK sterling. An article in the Independent newspaper highlighted the wider implications a Brexit could have on UK business finance. The article published minutes from the Bank of England’s meeting, which said a vote to leave the EU would “result in an extended period of uncertainty about the economic outlook including the prospects for export growth”.

Teamed with this, they say a Brexit would lead to the removal of all EU subsidies, such as CAP, upon which many UK firms depend.

Northern Irish Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “In terms of Agriculture and Rural Development, we will have drawn down over £1.9bn of European funding between 2014 and 2020. I fear that a significant reduction in direct support would see production go into free-fall.”

While acknowledging the challenges a Brexit would bring, Vote Leave campaigners argue that it would also bring opportunity to reform UK banks and rid them of the bad habits they have adopted. In the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)’s Brexit thesis competition, the winning report, Britain outside the European Union, suggests this could be achieved by introducing a free banking system, which would rid the UK of “excessive financial regulation, central banks and an inconvertible paper currency”.

To read more about the economic implications of the EU Referendum, download EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business.

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EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business

EU Referendum

Rely on facts not feelings

Are you ready to vote in the EU referendum on 23 June? The latest YouGov poll showed significant support for both sides with 13% of people still undecided.

Professionals across the country are wondering what the vote will mean for their businesses, jobs and bank balances and there is no shortage of opinions in the newspapers and on TV.

Unfortunately, these tend to be biased towards one side or another which is why the UK’s leading procurement service provider, BiP Solutions, is launching its free White Paper, EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business.

The White Paper examines the referendum and its potential implications for UK exports, trade arrangements, business finance, procurement legislation and jobs – all of which will affect the country’s livelihood.

Here’s a sneak peek at the first two chapters of EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business – covering Exports and Trade Agreements.

At the forefront of the referendum debate is the issue of exports. Brexit leaders argue that the EU membership fees paid by the UK outweigh the UK gains from exports to the European Economic Area (EEA). However, HM Treasury’s latest European Union Finances statistics appear to contradict this argument.

These figures show that in 2015 EU membership cost the UK £8.4bn (net sum). This cost though was outweighed by the value of UK exports to the EEA in 2015, which reached £133.9bn (HMRC UK Overseas Trade Statistics December 2015).

This trend is, however, not reflective of the wider UK export picture; as the latest (February 2016) Office of National Statistics UK Trade Statistical Bulletin shows, between November 2015 and February 2016, UK exports to non-EEA countries totalled more than those to EEA countries (£36bn compared to £33bn).

This highlights the opportunity for greater UK trade beyond the European Union, and shows the appeal of a Brexit in which the UK could form autonomous international trade partnerships, without having to negotiate with other EU members.

Another pro-Brexit argument is that, should it leave the EU, the UK could re-negotiate a deal that allowed it to trade with the EEA without having to adhere to the EU Public Contracts Regulations, which are said to cost UK businesses £33.3bn annually to implement.

However, pro-EU campaigners highlight current European law stipulates that to benefit from European Single Market trade rates countries must adhere to EU regulations.

This means that should the UK cease to do so, it would have to pay more to trade with EEA countries. Establishment of alternative trade partnerships is a challenge that could create economic instability; however, it could also create the opportunity to forge new markets and procurement practices.

Read more about the economic implications of the EU referendum, with EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business.

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Leading Healthcare Procurement Innovation: P4H

P4H

Revolution is coming to the NHS, with efficiency at its heart. Spurring this efficiency drive is the UK Government commissioned Review of Operational Productivity in NHS providers, which set the NHS the goal of making 10-15% real-terms cost savings by April 2021. Here, BiP journalist Julie Shennan examines the report’s recommendations and how the forthcoming P4H conference – on 13 July, at the NEC Birmingham – can help suppliers meet them.

Background

In 2015, Lord Patrick Carter forecast that £5bn annually could be saved by encouraging NHS England Trusts to use the same e-tendering portals and key performance indicators, as well as by improving purchase ordering and staff attendance levels.

These guidelines were contained in the Carter Review of Operational Productivity (an Independent Report for the Department of Health) commissioned in 2014, drafted in 2015 and finalised in 2016. In this Review, Lord Carter compared 22 leading English hospitals to see how the NHS could get best value for money.

Wider picture

Although concentrating on operational productivity across the NHS in England, the Carter Review has relevance for all the home nations of the UK, with health authorities facing universal pressures of ageing populations and tightening budgets that require efficiencies to be made.

This challenge was acknowledged by BSO Health and Social Care Executive Director of Operations (UK and Ireland) Sam Waide, who said: “One of the big issues the health and social care sector faces is greater demand for community services. This is a positive thing for patients, as they get more tailored care, but it also brings strain on decreasing budgets.”

Recommendations

Recognising the need for NHS buyers and private sector suppliers to deliver more services with fewer resources, Lord Carter proposed changes that could tighten the supply chain.

He suggested:

  • Improving workflow by minimising absences;
  • Optimising hospital pharmacies, medicines and estates;
  • Unifying NHS ordering into one e-procurement catalogue;
  • Sharing best practice models to promote good procurement.

Government agenda

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is now calling on the NHS to ensure every penny is spent in the most effective way for patients to improve standards of care while reducing costs. The Government particularly wants to see lessons learnt by hospitals that are not as efficient as they could be across all areas of their work, thereby driving bigger gains for patient care.

Mr Hunt said: “Nothing better embodies our belief in ‘one nation’ than the NHS, so I want to see a seven-day health service that delivers for working people. That means cutting out the waste and making sure every penny counts so that the quality of care continues to improve.”

How P4H can help

Both Mr Hunt and Lord Carter suggest sharing best practice is essential to smart health procurement. However, the vast size of the sector can mean that healthcare buyers and suppliers often miss the chance to learn from their peers.

This is where P4H, the UK’s premier healthcare procurement event, can help.

On 13 July 2016, at the NEC Birmingham, P4H will welcome hundreds of healthcare buyers and suppliers, from all parts of the UK supply chain.

The event will facilitate professional networking in the dedicated Buyer Engagement Village, Product Showcase Exhibition and Collaboration Zones. Knowledge sharing will be high on the agenda in the P4H Keynote Arena, where healthcare thought leaders will discuss their experiences and give pointers to future best practice. Finally, in tailored workshop settings, the P4H Best Practice Case Study Zone and Procurement Advice Hub will give guidance to those seeking to implement procurement change.

All this advice will be backed with procurement training in the P4H Buyer Skills Development,Supplier and eProcurement Training Zones.

Gain these and many more invaluable healthcare insights.

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