Maintaining trust in the procurement process

Blog | November 5, 2014

Trust in the procurement processThe Times of India recently reported a call by members of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to investigate alleged irregularities in public works contracts. The desire to eliminate corruption has been the driver for many public bodies implementing eTendering, and a solution was implemented at BMC in October 2012.

Are unfair practices compromising procurement?

The key allegations are that potential bidders have been prevented from participating through the blocking of access to the eTendering system. It’s alleged that the tendering process has been manipulated by having certain tenders available only for short periods and that too at very odd times with the aim of enabling preferred bidders to complete their responses. Such allegations can seriously undermine trust in the procurement process.

A catalyst for procurement reform

Nextenders have built their business on providing organisations with technology that is the catalyst for procurement reform. Our solutions offer functionality that enhances and improves the procurement process and (patented) technology that ensures information security. Our aim has been to engineer robust technology that delivers transparency and enables bidders to participate without fear that the playing field isn’t level.

Two keys factors that deliver trust

To make sure the process remains trusted, activity needs to be monitored and everyone needs to be confident that procurement process hasn’t been subverted. Our solutions have processed over 550,000 tenders and there hasn’t been one single case of tampering, hacking, data loss, fraud or corruption on any of our systems.

1. The system itself

This is partly down to the system itself – Nextenders’ Secure Bid Process means that any tampering is evident and data cannot be intercepted in transit. The system also records every single action within the system so that it can be monitored and audited.

2. External auditing and review

Auditing of the system is the other key factor in delivering trust in the procurement process. Independent review of systems is essential in ensuring that all parties have confidence that the process cannot be compromised. Nextenders has never failed an audit and its systems have been audited by a variety of its government clients.

The external review needs to make sure that:

  • Bids can only be accessed by the bidder and the Tendering authority,
  • Any changes or accesses of bids are evident,
  • Bids cannot be viewed by anyone other than the bidder before the deadline is reached – even the Tendering authority,
  • Once the deadline for tender submission has passed, no new bids can be submitted,
  • All changes and actions on the system are recorded, time-stamped and visible,
  • There are no ‘back doors’ in the system that could be used to bypass the above controls, and
  • The system has been – and continues to be periodically – reviewed by a number of independent bodies to ensure total confidence.

By implementing these steps and following these disciplines, it will be possible to ensure you maintain trust in the procurement process so it delivers value for buyers and fairness for bidders. For more information, download our overview of Nextenders’ patented Secure Bid Process technology or contact us today.