Monday, 30 November 2009

Who counts the cost of procurement?

I have just read Andrew Princes' COI letter in design week 26.11.09.

We applied for the COI tender and received the full documentation. I find it amazing he thinks a response can be put together in 4 hours. It takes that long to read all the materials and work out how to fill in the PQQ before you start pulling together all the info required including relevant case studies and a written page to support each - make that 2 - 3 days and you have a realistic timeframe. Even at 4 hours with 1000 applying that's 500 working days of time that will only yield a result for up to 10% of respondents - 450 wasted days! The pre qualification is only the start. If you get through there is an ITT for which they want even more detailed information. I read and re read the requirements and came to the conclusion that despite being ably qualified for 3 or 4 of the 11 lots (why 11 lots just for branding!?), the questions were framed in such a way that you start to question your ability to deliver. Having been in business since 1991 and delivered full identity and branding solutions for the public and private sector and retained many of these clients on a long term basis we know we can deliver. But is public sector and procurement worth all the hassle? When I re read the materials I discovered that each lot could have up to 10 agencies on each roster. All agencies are invited to tender for each project and where there is cross over of lots for a branding project the agencies in that lot are also invited to tender. Based on my understanding this could mean having gone through all of this you could have 30 agencies tendering for 1 project. The total budget for the year is listed as £1,000,000. So 11 lots with up to 10 agencies in each means that by my maths that works out as less than £10,000 per project which for a branding exercise is not much for the risk involved. This coupled with the fact that you have to tender for every job means we opted out at the first hurdle to focus on real clients with real needs. When will the public sector realise the value and benefit of long term relationships built on respect, trust, knowledge and experience? How much does procurement and tendering cost the tax payer and the design agencies against any perceived saving this process achieves? How much better are the designers that get through all the hoops? How can piecemeal projects deliver true strategic approaches and brand consistency? I am sure that some of those that get through will see the benefits but from outside I just see the over complex inefficiency of bureaucratic administration that hinders many of our public sector services and delivers no real value.

Who counts the cost?

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