Welcome to our new Tussell Briefing series, covering the most interesting stories in public procurement from the last few weeks.
1. TfL’s £15M electric car charging plan
Towards the end of February, Transport for London published a £15M tender for a Vehicle Charging Infrastructure framework – part of the national Go Ultra Low electric car charging scheme.
Since the start of 2017, 18 tenders worth £118M have been published for electric car charging points. But with a recent analysis arguing that take-up of electric vehicles is held back by a lack of models, rather than a lack of charging points, is this money well spent?
2. Brexit contracts on the rise
As it comes to up to a year since Theresa May triggered Article 50, we are seeing a steady growth in the number of contracts focused on Brexit. In recent weeks the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has issued two separate £1M awards to PwC and Reed Professional Services for Brexit consultancy. The Home Office and UK Shared Business Services have also stepped up their Brexit procurement.
With farming and fisheries two of the most important (though perhaps not exciting) aspects of the Brexit negotiations, it is interesting to note that DEFRA has issued more Brexit-related contracts than any other public sector buyer.
3. Foreign Office turns to China
Following May’s much-publicised visit to China at the start of February, the Foreign Office published a £0.3M award issued in November for projects to enhance bilateral trade between China and the UK.
This was one of 10 contracts relating to China awarded by the Foreign Office in 2017, with others focusing on FinTechs, healthcare and collaboration on infrastructure projects.
4. Aid charity match-funding programme renewed
Development consultant Mannion Daniels won a £8M award from Department for International Development (DFID) to act as the fund manager for “UK Aid Match II” – DFID’s programme of match-funding donations made by the public to development charities.
DFID doesn’t procure much from charities directly but distributes funds through programmes such as this. Charities including Oxfam, Red Cross and Save the Children gaining funding through Aid Match in the past. Will the current scandal in parts of the aid sector affect how the programme is administered in the future?
5. Mysterious drone company picks up prison contract
Following their £7M Prior Information Notice (PIN) for drone detection services in December, the Ministry of Justice have just published a £0.2M award issued to Skydroid for drone work. As the Telegraph point out, little is known about Skydroid and the contract notice itself hardly gives more clues. All we know is that they’ve been tasked with providing “proof of concept” work for the MoJ.
6. Attenborough’s plastic campaign makes a splash at DEFRA
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs published a tender for research into sources of micro-plastics in the marine environment. The campaign against plastics has been gathering momentum since David Attenborough pushed for action after filming Blue Planet II.
This is only the second tender ever published by DEFRA for research relating to plastics – a sign that Attenborough’s campaign is having a real policy impact?