Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday 12 June 2007

Flap over sporrans

The army's tendering proceudre is being called 'flawed' a a result of a GBP1.3m contract to produce 5,000 sporrans for the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The English firm, based in Birmingham, which was awarded the contract has sub-contracted it to a Parth firm which actually makes sporrans, whereas the Edinburgh firm which claims to be the biggest manufacturer of sporrans in the world says it had no knowledge of the contract. The MOD, for its part, says it followed 'European public procurement rules throughout and the contract was advertised properly' and that 'the work was advertised in both the EU Journal and the MoD Bulletin'.

Well there are several things to say here:

- Scott and Sons, the Edinburgh firm needs to update its ideas and realise it is no longer in the cozy world where the purchaser contacts a few favoured suppliers direct and that public contracts must be open to public tender; it is surprising that a sporran manufacturer, presumably used to dealing with Scottish regimental requirements, does not get a hold of the MOD Bulletin - presumably this is how the Birmingham firm, which makes metal fittings for sporrans, got to know about it.

- The MOD saying it has published its requirements in the EU Journal is fine, so far as it goes, but is a little like the Vogons (viz. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) protesting that they had published notice of the imminent demolition of the earth a year in advance, but this was found to be hidden in the basement of an obscure public authority building behind a pile of unused furniture. Do a lot of people spend their lives reading the EU Journal? Maybe it's necessary for them to start, but I'd want hazard pay (for the tedium) for that particular job!

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