High demand for usage sees CCS more than double spending on new procurement platform

Value of eSourcing framework shoots up from £4m to £10m as buying agency expects platform to process an increased amount of spending

A high level of demand from the public sector has seen the Crown Commercial Service more than double planned spending on its underlying tech platform for public sector procurement. 

In May, Crown Commercial Service issued a prior information notice outlining its intent to replace its incumbent “eSourcing platform” that has been in use since 2012. At that time, CCS planned to issue a contract notice in July, for a framework expected to be worth about £4m to the winning bidders.

Earlier this month the contract notice was finally published, and the expected cumulative value of the deal across its four lots has increased 150% to £10m. 

PublicTechnology understands that both the delay to the publication of the tender and the big spike in its potential worth came as a result of a level of interest from across the public sector that exceeded initial expectations. This means that the platform will need to be built to handle a greater level of spending activity than originally anticipated.

Once the extra demands that will likely be placed upon the platform became clear, the procurement process was paused by CCS for six weeks while the scope of the exercise was reshaped and expanded, it is understood. Suppliers were kept informed of developments via the procurement body’s online portal.

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The platform, which CCS wishes to procure as a software as a service offering, “must allow end-to-end management sourcing activity” in compliance with all relevant regulations, the contract notice said. 

It must also be interoperable with existing CCS tools – and any others that feature on this framework – and support the use of APIs. The chosen platform must also offer “a single point of contact for users and suppliers”, as well as providing “comprehensive, reliable audit trails, process reporting, and other related transparency controls”.

The deal will be split into four lots, the first three of which will be respectively dedicated to online sourcing tools, e-auctions, and dynamic purchasing systems. The final lot will be for suppliers or individual products that can deliver all three of these.

In the 2018 fiscal year, CCS indicated that it used web-based platforms to manage 61 procurements above the threshold for OJEU publication and 69 e-auctions, as well as launching five dynamic purchasing systems.

Bids for the e-sourcing framework are open until 2 November, with a contract currently scheduled to take effect on 16 January. The deal will run for four years.

Sam Trendall

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