Competitive Dialogue for IT Procurement – the good the bad and the ugly

June 2, 2009

The SCL Northern Group meeting on 4 June was well attended and sparked considerable interest. Chaired by Stewart James of DLA Piper UK LLP (Chair of the SCL Northern Group), the meeting featured presentations by Ian Persechino of Serco Consulting and Simon Taylor of Wragge & Co LLP

The meeting addressed the pluses and minuses of the competitive dialogue procedure – the good the bad and the ugly. This EU-inspired pre-contract procedure is of course principally important in public procurement contracts, but its reach extends into many other aspects of procurement and it is of fundamental importance for lawyers advising clients in the IT and related sectors.

Hailed as the flexible new approach to complex ICT procurements, the competitive dialogue procedure has had a mixed press. Some argue that it pushes supplier tendering costs out of control; others contend that it delivers refined, tailored solutions for complex ICT procurements underpinned by clear and robust contracts. This controversial procurement process has now had enough outings for ICT lawyers to take stock.

The Northern Group seminar provided a refresher on the competitive dialogue process itself from a procurement expert, and the inside track on the experience of using the competitive dialogue for ICT procurement, from the perspective of both suppliers and purchasers.

The presentations from Ian Persechino and Simon Taylor were enthusiastically received. You can download Simon’s slides (as a pdf file) from the panel opposite.

{i}If you want to comment or raise any issue arising from the meeting, please log on and complete the comments section below{/i}.

{b}Ian Persechino{/b} is a CCAB (CIPFA) qualified accountant with over 15 years consulting experience across the public sector. Ian’s background in IS/IT and Programme/Project Management experience together with his knowledge of public sector procurement has enabled him to work on both client-side and provider-side of a number of IS/IT partnerships under a number of different procurement approaches including PFI, Negotiated Procedure and Competitive Dialogue. More recently he acted as Bid manager for Serco on their successful bid to form a Joint Venture with Glasgow City Council covering property and ICT services and he is currently leading the team advising a metropolitan council about to embark on a competitive dialogue process.

{b}Simon Taylor{/b} is a partner in the antitrust team at Wragge & Co LLP, advising corporate and public sector bodies on EU and competition law, involving merger control, compliance and cartels, competition litigation, sectoral investigations, state aid and public procurement.