Flexible procurement could reduce COI involvement

Government design buyers will be able to bypass the Central Office of Information from certain aspects of procurement under a new arrangement that comes into force this week.

The COI’s flexible service offer, which launches on 1 April, will see the launch of a three-tier procurement structure, with Government clients able to choose how much involvement they want the COI to have in the process.

The managed service will be similar to the current COI procurement service, which will see the COI recommending a framework to a client, running the pitch, issuing the contract and managing the supplier.

But two new services are also now offered, which will allow Government clients to bypass COI involvement at certain levels.

The added value procurement service will see the COI recommending the framework and running the tender process, but leaving supplier management to the client, while the basic procurement service will see the COI recommending a framework before handing over the tender process and supplier management to the client.

In a letter to suppliers, Bob Ager, the COI’s head of procurement, says, ‘The benefit for us is that we will be able to deliver even greater efficiencies, value for money and savings for our existing client base, the Office for Government Commerce and, ultimately, the taxpayer.’

The letter adds that the flexible service offer is being launched in line with the Government’s Collaborative Procurement agenda, which urges the COI to run as much of the Government’s marketing and communications activity as possible, and will allow the COI to extend its reach from traditional central Government clients to the wider public sector, including local authorities.

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