Case Study -
Getting quotes quicker and more efficiently is delivering positive results for one Scottish public sector organisation thanks to its pioneering use of an online procurement tool.
Moray Council has fully embraced Public Contract Scotland’s (PCS) – The Scottish Government’s flagship public sector procurement portal – specially- designed online buying process, Quick Quote.
The Council advertised and awarded a framework contract for planned maintenance and put in place a framework agreement with 75 suppliers, the majority being local small to medium-sized businesses. The framework contract will significantly impact on the sustainability of the economy in and around Moray to the tune of £2.5m over a four-year period.
A framework agreement or contract is an agreement or other arrangement between one or more contracting authorities and one or more suppliers which establishes the terms under which the supplier will enter into one or more contracts with the contracting authority in the period during which the framework agreement applies.
Moray Council divided the contract into four separate areas and ensured a minimum of three suppliers per trade were allocated to each of the areas. As and when Moray Council has a requirement for planned maintenance, with a contract value less than £30,000, relevant suppliers will be notified of opportunities through the Quick Quote tool.
Quick Quote is an online request for quotation, and is used to obtain competitive quotes for low value or low risk procurement exercises, or mini competitions within framework agreements, from suppliers who are registered on the Public Contracts Scotland website. A full and transparent audit trail is provided, but with none of the bureaucracy often associated with public sector procurement. All relevant documents are attached, sent and returned electronically via the Quick Quote process.
At the end of 2011, a new version of Quick Quote is due to be released and this will clearly differentiate between standard Quick Quotes and those that are created in relation to framework agreements and mini competitions.
To support Moray Council’s management of the framework contract for planned maintenance, suppliers must have registered on Public Contracts Scotland against one common product category. In this instance, the Council used Works, Construction Repair & Maintenance, other works. By doing this, it will reduce administration time when defining and selecting a distribution list.
Sandi Pick, Procurement Officer at Moray Council said “Quick Quote is simple, effective and transparent and is ideal for carrying out mini competitions. We have worked closely with the suppliers who have successfully bid to be on our framework and have ensured that all of them are familiar with the Quick Quote system, how to access the requests for quotations and how to upload their responses.
By creating this framework and using the Public Contracts Scotland Quick Quote functionality for mini competitions, several advantages have been identified. Amongst them are a reduction in both Council and supplier processing time and a reduction in stationery and postage costs. In addition, Quick Quote provides an audit trail of work and management information.