Sector News
This Week’s Banter from the Public Procurement Biergarten

It’s Friday, so here is our roundup of stories and information we picked up down the (imaginary) procurement cafe/bar/cave/biergarten (according to your location) this week. Well over a trillion Euros of money from taxpayers and citizens is being spent by governments and public sector bodies, you would think it ought to be done well.

Do click through and read the full articles that interest you – some of them we will come back to in greater detail in due course.

Government renews efforts to modernise UK NHS IT systems so doctors and patients go digital

This week the BBC reported on “NHS to get £4bn in drive for ‘paperless’ health service.” Jeremy Hunt (Health Secretary) said it would bring about more time for doctors and nurses to focus on frontline care. “More than £4bn has been set aside for areas such as electronic records and online appointments, prescriptions and consultations,” the BBC says. But there is mixed opinion over whether it will work this time.

Public Sector Procurement Portal for Wales

In line with other European governments and public authorities that handle procurement electronically to save money and time and comply with the latest EU legislation, the Welsh Government (Llywodraeth Cymru) has appointed a leading electronic tendering provider, Millstream, to design and run a new-look portal for all public sector tenders. The Welsh eProcurement database handles tenders worth around £4.3 billion annually. The firm has also provided and run similar portals for other nations, including Norway, Scotland and Ireland.

Multi-sector trade mission launched for UK businesses to expand into Romania

Enterprise Europe Network, UKTI London and the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce have invited businesses to join a multi-sector trade mission to Bucharest, this February. The mission is aimed at providing an opportunity for businesses to expand and achieve their business goals overseas in a burgeoning market. The Trade Mission to Romania provides access to unique overseas business opportunities with like-minded companies. Romania was chosen partly because  its economy is forecast to grow by 4.1% in 2016, it will receive EU Structural and Cohesion funds totalling €74 billion by 2020 and it has a significant domestic market of 21 million consumers. Hopefully there will be more initiatives like this.

ScottishSteel Union leaders calling on Government to ensure an Aberdeen Bypass contract is not awarded to Turkey

The Daily Record reports that a “£475 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route is being handled by Government agency Transport Scotland and being built by a consortium of private contractors … the general secretary of the steelworkers’ union, said it would be ‘completely wrong’ if the Scottish Government chose to buy in foreign steel rather than support our steelworkers.” This comes soon after Nicola Sturgeon promised to “leave no stone unturned” in the fight to save steel jobs in Scotland, when Tata Steel announced plans to shut plants. Amid fears of furthering the steel crisis – it is believed that talks with Turkish suppliers are at an advanced stage.