Loading...

PIN down Prior Information Notice Updates

Prior Information Notice

The new UK Public Contract Regulations have changed the way Prior Information Notices (PINs) can be utilised by sub-central authorities. Here BiP journalist Julie Shennan talks to Principal PASS (Procurement Advice Support Service) Consultant Eddie Regan about the implications these changes will have on suppliers.

In the past, Prior Information Noticess were used to inform suppliers that a contract notice was on its way and if the contracting authority so chose, the timescale for tenders could be reduced in the Open, Restricted and Negotiated Procedures. While this functionality is maintained for for central government authorities, PINs now have a wider scope of use for sub-central authorities.

Sub-central authorities, including local councils and certain NHS Trusts, can now use a PIN:

  • As a means to notify the market of a forthcoming opportunity;
  • With the specific intent to reduce the tender timescales in the Open, Restricted and Competitive Procedure with Negotiation or
  • As a ‘Call for Competition’ which negates the need for a further Contract Notice and means that only those suppliers that respond as required will be invited to participate at PQQ in the Restricted and Competitive Procedure with Negotiation.

Commenting on the changes, BiP’s Principal PASS (Procurement Advice Support Service) Consultant Eddie Regan warned that suppliers must be vigilant to catch opportunities.

He said: “When a Prior Information Notice is used as a Call for Competition there will be no further Contract Notice published, so the PIN will begin the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire cycle. When the authority is ready to proceed with competition it will only consider those suppliers that have responded to the PIN. Only those that reconfirm their interest, when asked to do so, will receive the PQQ.”

Mr Regan further cautioned: “Suppliers must keep an eye out for PINs that act as a Call for Competition and respond to them providing the information that is requested. There is no second opportunity in this process.”

Important information in Call for Competition PINs includes:

  • The contracting authority’s contact details and links to tender documents.
  • NUTS and CPV codes.
  • A description of the goods or services sought.
  • The expected value of the goods/services sought.
  • Invitation to dialogue with the contracting authority.
  • Type of award procedure that will be followed (including collaborative models).
  • Conditions for participation, including mandatory social clauses for suppliers.
  • Description of the selection and award criteria.
  • Expression of Interest deadlines.
  • Expectations of the minimum and maximum number of companies that will be invited to tender.
  • Estimated delivery timescale of the contract.

Timescales also differ at the tender stage when Prior Information Notices have been used with the intent to reduce timescales. In the Open Proccedure, which allows 35 days for response, a PIN can cut the timescale to 15 days.

In both the Restricted and Competitive Procuedure with Negotiation, the 30 day minimum timescale can be slashed as low as 10 days.

To meet this new challenge, Mr Regan suggested suppliers prepare for a fast turn- around.

He said: “Suppliers really need to build a database of their company information, answering the common questions asked during the tender process. The new EU Public Contract Regulations make the selection criteria clear, explaining the information that can be asked of suppliers. Suppliers must use these resources to build a profile of their business.”

Online guides and training also act as vital aids in the tendering process, as Mr Regan explained.

He said: “Suppliers who are new to the marketplace can read the ‘Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts’ or undertake a PASS training course to get a better understanding of the process.”

For more information on the tendering process, visit the BiP Solutions website.

The Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts launches

Ultimate Guide pic

In response to UK government procurement reform, BiP Solutions has thrown a lifeline to those seeking public sector business by releasing its Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts.

The Ultimate Guide starts by explaining the scale of the public sector marketplace and the financial gains it has to offer businesses of all types and sizes. It then explains the preparation work that suppliers must do before bidding for contracts, as well as the practical steps involved in the various stages of the bidding process.

Not content to leave suppliers hanging, the Ultimate Guide goes further to explain what action can be taken after a bid, should an unsuccessful applicant seek further information. With jargon busters, top tips and graphs, the website appeals to a variety of users, from procurement novices to experts.

Procurement expertise is something that BiP Solutions has honed over 31 years; the company’s offering includes procurement services, portals, exhibitions and training. Now the Ultimate Guide is adding to these resources, linking private sector suppliers with public sector buyers.

Public sector buying is key to the private sector, as it is estimated some £263bn per annum is spent on procurement across the UK public sector.

And no company is too small to benefit from this business, as the UK government has an ongoing drive to involve SMEs in its supply chain, resulting in 27.1% of central government buying (between 2014-15) being with small businesses.

BiP Solutions itself reflects this success, as the SME has a history of winning public sector contracts, including with the 2012 Olympic Games, the Department for Communities and Local Government, Education Scotland and the Home Office.

Keen to spread this good fortune, BiP Solutions’ COO Simon Burges urged suppliers to read the Ultimate Guide.

He said: “For over three decades BiP Solutions has built its procurement expertise, and connected suppliers with public sector buyers.

“These connections have been developed through BiP products, services and events, which map the procurement landscape.

“Now, mapping this landscape, BiP is proud to launch the Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts. This guide will take suppliers step by step through the tender process, providing comprehensive advice in laymen’s terms.

“The Ultimate Guide is a complimentary publication that reaches out and offers suppliers an insight into BiP’s marketplace knowledge. This knowledge has never been more relevant to suppliers as local government devolution and central government transparency measures are opening up an increasing number of public sector contracts.

“With this in mind, I would urge suppliers to go onto the Ultimate Guide website and read its vital advice.”

Senior PASS (Procurement Advice and Support Service) Consultant Eddie Regan added: “Contractors, whether micro businesses or multi-nationals, can never learn enough about the public procurement rules and regulations. Success is driven by knowledge and hopefully many will find the Ultimate Guide a useful step on the journey to success.”

GET YOUR FREE COPY HERE