What is it, and why is it important for the entire process of working with welfare technology?
It goes without saying that investing in new technology is a big step for any municipality, so it is very important to get it right.
Procurement in general is a complex specialized task that requires both time and resources. Municipalities have been handling large scale procurements for many years but procuring welfare technology often require a different approach than procuring for instance office supplies, so it is important to explore your procurement options.
This step is not going to give an in depth legal analysis of the different existing procurement models, but aims to provide food for thought on what to be aware of and which models are the most popular among the leading municipalities within the area of welfare technology.
- It is very important to ensure a good and responsible administrative practice and promote transparency and equality throughout the entire process. This is not only good practice, it also ensures that you do not exclude any interested party.
- While the traditional procurement process is tried and tested, it is often not the best solution when procuring advanced welfare technology. It is often too slow and inflexible for a fast moving technology marked and its framework have a hard time encompassing innovation.
- Be aware that there can be legal differences between procuring services and procuring products. For more detailed information please check the links in the tools and methods section.
- Consider which procurement model and method that best fit you need. Be advised that it may very well vary from technology to technology. Different forms of innovative procurements have been used successfully. See some of the different options below.
Innovative Procurement (3 Variations. For detailed information on innovative procurement se Method and tools section)
- Innovative procurement where the need is specified – meaning a needs analysis has been completed and the area which needs improvement is known. This procurement form is looking for a service/solution/function. It targets:
A) An existing adequate solution already on the marked
B) An existing solution already on the marked that needs further development to meet the need
C) Solutions that are not yet on the market
- Innovative procurement of a solution where the need is not identified only the area that needs improvement. It targets:
A) Ideas on how to improve the area
B) Ideas and possible solutions on how to improve the area.
- Innovative procurement of research and development services.
Public Private Innovation (PPI) and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) are also very effective ways of ensuring a high degree of innovation and flexible product development.
- PPI: A PPI is an agreement on an innovation or development process that normally precedes a procurement. A procurement can be included in the agreement under certain circumstances. For detailed information on how to do PPI, and PPI including a procurement, see the methods and tools section.
- PPP: Is especially effective for larger projects for instance construction. PPP integrates financing, design, and construction , often including maintenance and operation. See more under tools and methods.
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Guidelines based on experience
As public procurement is a very complex area it is highly recommendable to bring in procurement experts from the beginning process.
Procurement can be very demanding and costly – consider cooperating with likeminded municipalities to share cost and gain the benefits of buying in scale.
- If you lack competences within public procurement, cooperation with other municipalities may also be a good way to obtain access to competences, knowledge and to gain valuable experience.
Many procurements fail, for different reasons, and have to be re-done wasting time and money. One way of reducing the chances of failure is pre-procurement marked dialogue. This can be conducted by the municipalities themselves or through private specialized companies.
Focus on increased cooperation and knowledge sharing between those working with procurement and those working with welfare technology:
- Both welfare services and welfare technology is complex areas and knowledge of both is essential for creating an optimal procurement process within welfare technology. Therefore, it is important that the procurement specialist is better equipped with knowledge of the area.
- There is a pronounced fear among many working within welfare technology of getting too close to suppliers, due to limited knowledge of procurement rules. This can result in a them against us relationship between the public and private sectors, which does not promote innovation and development. This can be countered by involving your procurement department from the very beginning of the process.
It is recommended to establish a working group encompassing different skills when procuring welfare technology. The skills needed in the working group will change from technology to technology, but should include knowledge about the target group and procurement. This group can also assist in:
- Selecting and clarifying section criteria and weighing factors
- Clarifying the conditions for involved suppliers
Be careful throughout the process with regards to documentation. It is important all potential suppliers have equal opportunities.
Including end-users in the procurement process can be very fruitful (end user can be employees, citizens or relatives) - although when and how may vary from procurement process to procurement process. Remember to consider how best to involve them in the beginning of the process.
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What has having a procurement model meant to the CONNECT participants?
Using innovative procurement has meant the suppliers see the municipality as development oriented and have a clearer understanding of our needs within this area.
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Methods and tools
As our main document is deliberately devoid of legal advice or in depth information about the intricacies of each procurement type, this section contains links to publications and webpages that provides this information.
- For a better in depth understanding and in depth judicial analysis of innovative procurement please see the following publications:
Innovationsvänlig Upphandling (SKL 2012). Experiences from municipalities and regions explaining how to promote fresh thinking and innovation in the procurement process (Includes practical examples).
Innovationsupphandling – utvecklar din verksamhet, Upphandlingsmyndigheten. In depth explanation of innovative procurement. It looks at the possibilities innovative procurement presents for public authorities.
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Examples of procurement models from the CONNECT participants
None of the participating municipalities have an entire procurement model specific to welfare technology available online. They all have vast experience in procuring technology and if you are interested they will share the background information behind these procurements with you directly.
The city of Västerås does however publish their criteria and background information behind procurement processes. Examples include: videotelephone, safety alarms and other technical solutions for assisted living. All examples can be found here
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