It is week 40 of the Network Services framework tender and suppliers are still in the dark about the cause of the latest delay - which means nobody knows who's made the cut and who hasn't.
A prior information notice for the framework, estimated to be worth between £100m and £2bn over four years, was published in July and a contract notice issued in August.
More ReadingThe NHS pays up to NINE TIMES over trade price for commodity kitUK NHS IT supplier CSC coughs up $190m fine, three execs in the dock'Whitehall must address creaking IT', says ex CIO big wigHMRC ditches Microsoft for Google, sends data offshoreWorking over Christmas? Government tech suppliers will be
Suppliers were to submit responses to the hefty questionnaire in December, but the tender was redrafted due to complaints of the 700-question document being over-complicated. The tender now includes more than 800 questions.
Crown Commercial Services wrote to suppliers on 8 June to confirm its intention to name those that have a seat on the framework by the end of the week – but reneged on this three days later.
“In our message to you on the 8 June, we expected to be in a position to issue our intention to award for Network Services later this week. We have promised to keep you updated and are writing to advise that unfortunately this will now not happen this week,” stated the note sent on 11 June.
“We hope to be in a position to issue our intention to award notifications as soon as possible and will update you again next week,” CCS added in the supplier comms, seen by us.
According to innopsis, the industry association for suppliers selling to public sector, categorising tech providers, particularly for lot ten, has caused the latest setback.
One company vying for a seat at the table told us, on condition of anonymity, that CCS has a “propensity to over-complicate stuff”, but was unsure of the reason for the delay.
“We’ve not idea what’s gone wrong,” he told El Chan. “It is the public sector. We take timelines with a pinch of salt, and frankly when frameworks come in on time I fall off my seat.”
Network Services includes 10 Lots that are made up by telephony services, mobile voice and data, local connectivity services, video and audio conferencing and paging services.