ILP CPD webinar: Lighting Procurement Portals

Lighting Procurement Portals: Unravelling the Mystery

Private sector organisations are still affected by the public sector regulations, if payment for goods and services are coming from the public purse.

In this webinar, Kath Johnson from YPO provides you with a broad overview and insight into the many options that a public sector buyer considers, when choosing their compliant route to market.

She takes you through the different stages of participating in e-tendering portals, from registering your organisation, through to completion of a tendering process with some helpful tips in between.


Can you advise what you would expect to see from companies who are successful with a tender in terms of their own marketing?                  A good response to a question on marketing would provide examples of information shared to a wider audience about the goods or services being provided to existing customers, which would indicate that your organisation understands that these examples will highlight the goods and services to new customers. The response should also include suggestions for future collaborative initiatives, such as contributions to blogs, webinars and participation in industry conferences. Provide screen prints of past examples on social media activities and suggestions of how this could be continued. Add in the statistics that have been measured on the success of past promotional activities i.e. how many new enquiries each activity generated, how many likes and comments etc.  
Do you publish information on social benefits regarding specific frameworks where companies are required to provide, if they hit set purchasing levels based on said framework. Do you track this?                  YPO is continually collecting this information and some of our newer Frameworks are including social value information, we haven’t published data about social value delivered yet but this is currently a work in progress for my colleague Melissa. The difficultly we have as a national framework provider is that our customers often have different requirements and priorities and suppliers’ information often varies too, therefore displaying the information gathered is proving to be a challenge.   I am not aware that any of our Frameworks have set purchasing levels though.   We see our role in delivering social value via frameworks is to make sure they are open for customers to drive social value at a local level.  
Do you recommend specifications to Authorities? With so many around it would be good practice for a similar specification to your customers.                  Yes, if a customer begins by describing a similar requirement to that of an exercise that has been previously specified, I first of all seek permission from the first customer to share their specification with the new customer. However, the new customers will then tweak the specification to suit their particular situation. If I’m dealing with a product or service that is always the same, such as the supply of Winter Gritting, I will have a standard specification.   We also try to standardise our documents and provide the customers with templates to try to make it easier for everyone concerned.  
Given the major disruption to global supply chains, can purchasers realistically measure vendor performance using KPI’s?            Yes, of course. Measuring performance and the subsequent analysis of the data will first of all indicate that the provider is keeping an eye on the data and therefore will have an early warning giving them an opportunity to resolve issues, whatever that should be. Without the data, no one will know what good or bad looks like.   In the current climate, we can certainly make comparisons on the agility and resilience of organisations. Help those in need and learn from those that succeed.  
Keeping one eye on the Covid-19 issue, are you finding buyers are considering resilience in the supply chain within their tender requirements?  Covid-19 is a huge challenge in the supply chain and there are many different aspects that buyers need to consider. Resilience in the supply chain is not unique to Covid-19 and continues to be monitored to the best of our abilities.    
How can you best determine whether tenders will actually be progressed, we have undertaken many tenders and the reply comes back that they will not be progressing the scheme or we just receive nothing?                            Unfortunately, there are occasions when procurement exercises must be abandoned, usually due to the unaffordability of a project or a change in circumstances. Buyers are always disappointed in wasting everyone’s time as it takes such a long time to prepare the opportunity. They are just as disappointed when there are no bidders or even a single bidder.   A good clue might be in the clarifications that are being asked and responded to, the types of questions and the responses received.   However, with regards to the lack of information, in the public sector, the Regulations state that “Contracting authorities shall as soon as possible inform each candidate and tenderer of decisions reached…….” and this includes “not to award a contract for which there has been a call for competition”.   “On request from the candidate or tenderer concerned, the contracting authority shall quickly as possible and in any event within 15 days from receipt of a written request, inform…..”  

How do you find a CPV if your services are not specifically listed like “Lighting Design”?  
Try to find a number of overarching CPV codes that broadly fit your line of work such as 71311300-4 Infrastructure works consultancy services.  

How will Brexit affect OJEU levels, and what is the likely period for these, if any, to take affect?

The European Commission updates the thresholds every 2 years and new thresholds were set in January this year. Obviously we will be leaving at the end of this year and the amendment bill to the PCR suggests the threshold will in the future be set by the minister for the cabinet office and will continue to be set on a 2 year basis. It also suggests the following levels will be set for the beginning of next year – for works, £4,551,413. For central govt services and supplies £118,133, for sub central govt supplies and services £181,302 and for schedule 3 services £615,278. So, if it passes, it looks as though the thresholds will be going down albeit not substantially.  
How will YPO filter competitions, published through the framework which are highly prescriptive or un-competitive?          We provide advice to our customers and make suggestions but ultimately the Further Competitions and evaluations are conducted at the customers’ own risk.   Some Further Competitions need to be prescriptive when they are trying to ensure precise compatibility. This usually occurs when replenishing stores for repairs and maintenance or if the customer is adding equipment to an existing scheme.  
We have been monitoring tender portals for several months now. The problem with them is that lighting is hardly ever explicitly mentioned. Normally the openings are for multi-disciplinary services, M&E services, design and supply services. Although lighting is very important and always present in every project, authorities hardly ever look for a specialist lighting designer to be included in the Team (if one is present, it is via the winning Architect or Engineer, not because the Tender requested one). Why is there no more interest in the figure and role of the lighting designer?  It’s all about the Regulations in the public sector. We shouldn’t be designing the lighting first because this is more likely to be too prescriptive. When the customers’ needs lighting, they should rely on the suppliers’ design expertise to provide solutions for the situation that’s been described and they should evaluate their designs as part of the procurement process. It’s at that stage that they could employ a lighting designer who would help them with the evaluations and claims that are made by the suppliers.   The new YPO 1027 Street Lighting Framework included an opportunity for designers, project managers and consultants to be awarded onto Lot 4. In addition, the YPO 925 Highway Electrical Installations DPS for NERS and HERS providers includes design in the scope.   I could certainly help to promote the use of designers with the YPO marketing team.    
What happens to unsuccessful tenderers? Do they find out how they missed out, or is that entirely up to the Company letting the Tender?  In the public sector, the Regulations state “On request from the candidate or tenderer concerned, the contracting authority shall quickly as possible and in any event within 15 days from receipt of a written request, inform…..” it’s paragraph 55. Just ask the buyer for feedback.  


Posted on

September 23, 2020

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