Simplification wouldn’t improve procurement

Poor Mark McArthur-Christie was obviously rather daunted by his first brush with the public sector tendering process (Letters, DW 3 August) and urged the Government to simplify the system to make it easier for small consultancies.

Well, I’ve got bad news for him. Despite the complexity of the process, there are more than enough consultancies that are prepared to jump through the hoops: a tender by a minor Government body will attract about 100 applications, and a high profile tender by a major body will attract about 300.

How do I know this? Well, we are on 11 Government rosters, but it has taken many years and literally dozens and dozens of tenders. Even with all our experience, the chance of winning is less than 5 per cent.

Simplification would make the system worse for all: it would lead to more applications, which would overwhelm overloaded procurement departments and reduce the chance of winning even further.

David Bartholomew, Managing director, Folio Creative Communication, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2AA

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