The National Probation Directorate has saved nearly a quarter of a million pounds by buying new IT kit in an online reverse-auction. The savings, £233,000 in total, represent a nine per cent reduction in price, according to the Office of Government Commerce.
The eAuction scheme makes it possible for bidding suppliers to better each others prices in real time, and extends the number of competitive bids each may make. The normal procurement process allows for a maximum of eight bids, but this contract was settled after a total of 74 competitve bids.
The contract was awarded only after price, efficiency and ability to deliver had been taken into consideration.
Steve Murphy, director general of the Probation Service, noted that the system provides a quick and manageable way to buy new kit. "We have been able to make considerable savings by using the eAuction system to purchase new hardware and software," he said.
The eAuction system can be set up to work on any number of criteria, which will normally be converted to a price-equivalent. The criteria are published in advance of the auction, and, as with more traditional procurement, only pre-qualified suppliers are invited to tender.
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