ISME acknowledges new Tender Advisory Service

24th December 2014 | News

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has welcomed the launch of the new Tender Advisory Service (TAS) by Minister, Simon Harris this month.

The service, which will be piloted from 1st February 2015, is designed to help make public procurement more inclusive for small businesses.

Mark Fielding, CEO, ISME, said: “The introduction of this service should be of benefit to SMEs who have issues about particular tenders and will allow them to raise concerns during the tender process.

“It shows that the Minister has been listening to the experiences of owner-managers, voiced by the Association and is taking some steps to rectify the long-standing problem of SMEs being unfairly denied access to public procurement contracts.

“However, the real solution here would be to introduce a public procurement Ombudsman, who could hold contracting authorities accountable for their procurement processes.”

The announcement of the TAS comes at the same time a survey by TenderScout found that Irish businesses spent €25 million in 2014 compiling proposals for tenders that were never awarded.

The study also found that almost a third (30 per cent) of all procurement activity in Ireland occurs below a financial threshold where it should be publicly advertised.

Tony Corrigan, CEO, TenderScout, believes the €2.7 billion of contracts that aren’t advertised represents a considerable opportunity for Irish businesses.

“They just need to establish relationships with buyers, proactively market their business and when the opportunity arises, demonstrate their value,” said Corrigan.

Mr Corrigan suggests that the fact 13 per cent of advertised tenders are never awarded to anybody means there must be a “significant disconnect” between buyers’ expectations and suppliers’ understanding.

“It points to buyers not fully understanding the goods or services being provided by the market or the cost of those services,” added Corrigan.