Met Police Adopts Online Procurement Tool

The Metropolitan Police is to utilise an online procurement website to help it procure goods and services

The Metropolitan Police is following the example of other public sector bodies with the news that it will use an online procurement website to help it procure goods and services.

Known as CompeteFor, the free website initially began life as a brokerage service for the London 2012 Games “to match potential suppliers and buyers, encouraging equality and transparency of opportunity.”

It was developed by the London Development Agency and the London Business Network.

Police Procurement

And now the Metropolitan Police Service is the latest organisation to announce that it will use it for goods and services, costing from £500 to £50,000.

It will “increase the accessibility and transparency of the Met’s contracts and give suppliers the opportunity to bid for work with other government supply chains.”

“CompeteFor advertises direct contracts with public sector buyers, such as the Metropolitan Police, and opens up thousands of private sector sub-contracts to small businesses,” the announcement reads.

The idea is the website will match buyers and suppliers within the Olympic supply chain. However its scope has now branched out beyond that as, besides the Met, other public sector organisations have also adopted it, including Westminster City Council, Haringey Council and Transport for London.

The system is also being used for the Crossrail project.

One Stop Shop?

To give a better idea of how successful it has been is the news that the website helped in over 6,000 awards, with an approximate value of £1.1 billion. Of these contracts, approximately 70 percent have been won by SMEs.

And over 8,500 opportunities have so far been posted on CompeteFor, from over 900 public and private sector buyers.

Over the past three years, CompeteFor has grown from an innovative tool to open up London 2012 contracts to small businesses, to an incredibly successful way for any organisation to advertise their contract opportunities,” said London Development Agency Deputy Chief Executive Lurene Joseph.

“The LDA’s vision for the CompeteFor project has expanded and we are pleased the Metropolitan Police are joining the many other buying organisations who use CompeteFor to open up their contracts and opportunities,” said Joseph.

“CompeteFor is being implemented in order to identify suitable suppliers for purchases when the goods or services to be purchased are not available from an existing corporate contract,” said Fay Davis of the Metropolitan Police Services’ Procurement Services team.

“By implementing CompeteFor, we will not only increase efficiency, but we’ll also be able to ensure that the MPS has access to a wide range of suppliers who have already signed up to a pre-defined set of conditions including health and safety, equal opportunities and environmental policies,” she added.

“CompeteFor also provides an open and transparent way for suppliers to compete for MPS business and ensure the MPS has a diverse supply base that represents the communities in which we are operating. This is just one objective contained within the MPS Responsible Procurement strategy.”

Previous Criticism

Registration is free of charge, and open to any UK business, so they can gain access to potential public sector contracts.

The government has previously faced criticism for its procurement and ICT implementation practises, after representatives of the local authority sector at the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) inquiry in March this year made their feelings known about the matter.

That said, this Coalition government is working hard to reduce costs and deliver increased value for money. Last year for example, it renegotiated contracts with large services vendors, by signing ‘memoranda of understanding’ in an effort to cut costs.

HP, Oracle, Microsoft, Atos Origin and Capgemini all signed, as well as several other big name IT services firms.