You may not be aware that you have a new resource available to you.
| Make use of official Cabinet Office guidance|
We’ve all been there. In preparing our response, we are horrified at some aspects of the Authority’s requirements, evaluation criteria or process. We can take courage and ask a clarification question… in the hope of getting some ‘clarity’. The response comes back ‘It is up to suppliers to use their experience based on the information provided…’ And you don’t know where to go next.
In past bulletins we have talked about available tools such as the Mystery Shopper scheme. We have also outlined some informal and formal options available to you if you need to push for changes.
Now there is an extremely useful ‘semi-formal’ support tool you can use. It is the Cabinet Office Outsourcing Playbook which applies to central government outsourcing contracts. The definition of outsourcing is ‘any public service obtained by contract from an outside supplier’. So, these guidelines should apply to any purchased service and should be relevant to any public sector procurement team going to market.
Probe the evaluation criteria
One section of the playbook provides detailed recommendations on how the evaluation process should operate. It lays out how to set criteria and weightings. It explains how to allow differentiation through the scoring process and it discusses how to balance price and quality, all challenging areas in many procurements.
So next time you want to question the wisdom of an Authority’s approach, why not use the Playbook as your reference to best practice? It will add weight to your argument without the need for you to bring a formal challenge.
Validate the entire buying process
On broader issues, the Playbook talks about a wide range of ‘best practices’ that will be helpful for you to know. It describes for example, how suppliers should be involved in the development of the requirements, how Authorities should approach relationships with suppliers and the appropriate use of the Competitive Dialogue.
The playbook was launched last year. It has been updated this summer, which is why we are sending this note out now. Here is the link.