Tuesday 27 April 2010

Bidding (Again)

Provoked to write more about the folly of competitive bidding as currently practiced by a new contract being issued by North Tyneside Council. The intro blurb concludes:

It is expected that any organisation applying will have extensive local government experience of delivering training programmes of this nature.

That is clearly code for 'only the usual suspects need apply...' and confirms what anecdotal evidence suggests: that in many cases, organisations go through the process because they have to, but are not really interested in looking at innovative or new suppliers.

Nearly everyone I have talked to who is well-established (and therefore not discounting like crazy to win business as start-ups or struggling businesses do) has said they only win bids when they are already suppliers to the bidder.

The fact that I have delivered programmes of the nature they are seeking to universities, health organisations, voluntary sector organisations and commercial clients might make you think I was at least worth a look. But I'm not even going to bid, because I know that my bid will not be looked at seriously: they will get enough bids from the usual suspects to shortlist a number that meet their criteria (ie including extensive experience with local government) to mean they can safely and legitimately discard mine (and all the others from 'not the usual suspects').

The question is, does that really serve them - or their council tax payers - well in terms of getting the best value and quality out of the process?