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29 November 2013

Lack of innovation focus takes sheen from praised NHS procurement strategy

Critics of the UK's National Health Service (NHS) procurement strategy, which has been warmly received overall, contend that it neglects innovative technology, inhibiting the NHS's ability to most effectively meet the needs of patients and staff. Specifically, the ability to manage data sources efficiently is being lost through a lack of attention to technology, it is claimed.

The need for procurers to work more closely with frontline staff in order to view what innovations are most needed is also raised, as are questions over the limited view of supply chains contained within the document. An effective inventory management system, and the sharing of data, would enable the system to move forward and transform, says Nicola Hall, Managing Director of Ingenica Solutions.

Inventory management would allow those in charge to understand what items have been purchased, where the products are used, and on which patients. The strategy has also been criticised for focusing on price comparisons, rather than longer term criteria.

For more information, click here.


26 November 2013

Procurement of innovation at the heart of new Danish government strategy

The Danish government is attempting to make savings in its public procurement by promoting innovation and sustainability. Government departments spent 290 billion Danish krone last year, and a new strategy for public procurement will help to ensure that the public sector gets maximum value for money in purchasing a wide variety of products and services.

Seven strategic principles will govern the process of making intelligent purchasing decisions so that money saved on procurement can be spent elsewhere. The strategy also recognises that innovation in public procurement can be beneficial in terms of job growth and export opportunities for Danish companies.

Danish government ministers said that common sense and business acumen were needed to handle state purchasing, and sustainable and innovative public procurement would make it easier to buy environmentally friendly products and to address social concerns. They highlighted the government’s commitment to buying sustainable timber, as well as avoiding purchasing harmful chemicals in the products they will buy.

For more information, click here [in Danish].


21 November 2013

UK Government makes public contracts more accessible to SMEs

Public sector procurement rules in the UK are changing to make public contracts more accessible to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The move follows recommendations made in a recent Government consultation on public procurement. The document criticised the current set up with regards to SMEs, saying: “SMEs have historically been shut out of government business and have found bidding for public sector contracts excessively, and sometimes prohibitively, bureaucratic, time-consuming and expensive.”

The revised approach will see a "simple and consistent approach to procurement across all public sector authorities so that SMEs can gain better and more direct access”. The main changes include re-qualification, including eliminating the use of pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) for low value contracts, mandating a core PQQ with standard questions for high value contracts, and allowing suppliers to provide PQQ data only once.

Greater transparency will also be achieved through ensuring all new contract opportunities and contract awards are advertised online, and that the public sector reports its performance with SMEs and centrally negotiated deals. The revisions will also try to ensure that contractors pay their suppliers on time, and will encourage the use of e-invoicing in the public sector.

For more information, click here.


20 November 2013

New mobility model from Czech Republic helps traffic managers target congestion

Faced with rising traffic congestion, a major source of environmental and economic costs, a consortium based in the Czech Republic has developed an innovative "dynamic mobility model", which predicts traffic flows and enables traffic management decisions to be taken quickly and efficiently.

The data for the system is taken from company car fleet management databases, telephone company GSM data records and data on truck movements. Weather information is also incorporated into the mobility model. An analysis of these data streams allows the system to not only display current problems, but to predict areas where congestion is likely to be an issue. This empowers traffic managers to take immediate action to alleviate affected areas.

The data system could also be integrated into users’ personal electronic devices, giving them access to the information in real time. At present, the system is still in the development phase, but it is hoped that it will enable the Czech Republic to bypass standard traffic management services in favour of a more effective, innovative solution.

For more information, click here.


14 November 2013

INNOCAT encourages organisations to join eco-catering buyers groups

Public and private organisations looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of their catering are invited to join the INNOCAT project Buyers Groups. The groups will issue tenders for the procurement of innovative and environmentally friendly catering solutions, and will be particularly useful to organisations whose catering contract is up for review. Members are open to get involved in the tendering process according to their interests and needs, whether it be collaborating on market research for innovative eco-solutions, developing specifications and tender documents, or jointly publishing tenders.

Currently, the core buyers consist of the City of Turin (Italy), Réseau des acheteurs hospitaliers d’Ile-de-France (Resah-idf), Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells (UK), and Environment Park Torino (Italy). The INNOCAT project aims to encourage eco-innovation in the catering sector by providing a sizeable launch market for new solutions. It will achieve this by bringing together buyers to publish a series of tenders for eco-innovative catering products, services and solutions.

The project will be launching tenders in school catering services, low-carbon vending machines, solutions for health and welfare catering services, and bio-waste disposal systems. INNOCAT is an initiative supported by the European Commission, led by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. To register your interest, contact:

For more information, click here.


12 November 2013

Latest news on sustainable procurement from ICLEI out now

The November edition of the Sustainable Procurement Update has just been published and is full of information on new resources and opportunities for procurement, as well as capacity building and network events.

This issue focuses on the launch of a new resource to assist purchasers and other stakeholders to turn procurement actions into more innovative practices to spur innovation. The Procurement of Innovation Platform (PPI) was launched by the Vice-President of the European Commission, Antonio Tajani, in Brussels (Belgium) on 29 October. The PPI Platform is the first port of call for all things related to PPI and pre-commercial procurement (PCP).

New resources as well as opportunities to exchange and share information with experts in the areas of timber, catering, healthcare and construction are presented in the newsletter. The information is supplemented by news about the City of Rotterdam (The Netherlands) joining the Procura+ Sustainable Procurement Campaign over the summer.

For more information, click here.


7 November 2013

Innovative eco-light includes sustainable criteria in each step of production

Through employing innovative sustainable design techniques, researchers have developed a new "eco-light" which uses significantly less energy than traditional lighting. Whole lifecycle evaluation was used to ensure the product is comprehensively sustainable, while LEDs and recycled plastic further mitigate the light's environmental impact.

Prior to production, computer software theoretically analysed the environmental impact of different materials, industrial processes, and transport and distribution methods, to ascertain which was the least harmful. It was found that the greatest environmental impact was not in the use of the product itself, but rather in the distribution stage. This offers one area in which improvements can be made.

The next focus of the research is to fully optimise the eco-lights, focusing on maximising light performance. The research was supported by the CIP Eco-Innovation programme and two projects funded under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme.

For more information, click here.


6 November 2013

Minister outlines role of procurement in stimulating innovation

Northern Ireland's Finance Minister has defended the region’s procurement system, outlining the crucial role it plays in Northern Ireland's economy and calling for greater use of procurement as a means to stimulate innovation. Minister Simon Hamilton was reacting to criticism that the region’s current system is rigid and inflexible, and contains unfair barriers to Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) engagement.

The minister rebuked critics who say that the current set-up is “lacking in innovation”, referencing higher governmental funding for innovative procurement: “Northern Ireland is open for business and government has recognised that the buying power of the public sector has a major role to play in stimulating companies to develop new innovative solutions. The Executive has now put in place funding for a team of innovative procurement initiatives including one within my own Department.”

Mr. Hamilton also addressed concerns over SMEs: "Contrary to perceptions, local businesses already win the majority of public procurement contracts in Northern Ireland with some 80 percent of all contracts awarded in 2011/2012 going to SMEs. This compares to 82 percent in Scotland and 60 percent in Wales.” He continued: “Procurement has changed for local SMEs including streamlining procedures and reducing paperwork associated with low value procurements both of which are important to small businesses, [and] reducing liability and insurance requirements by making them proportionate to the risks associated with the contract.”

For more information, click here.