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Never mind the quality


Am I reading correctly your article reporting how the Office of Government Commerce is sticking to its strategy for e-auctions in the construction industry (NCE 24 March)?

Exactly how does this approach represent 'best value'- How about rethinking construction, partnering, collaborative working, awarding contracts on quality not price?

This strategy seems to me to adhere to none of these proven initiatives; in fact it seems to be a big backward step.

Sir Peter Gershon's Independent Review of Public Sector Efficiency (July 2004) says 'there is little evidence that the procurement of professional services is managed to ensure value for money', so to my mind e-auctions and reverse auctions are not the way to address the problem. This is obviously not a view shared by TfL, which is reportedly adopting a reverse auction strategy for what could be up to £1bn of consultancy services.

I am also surprised that the process is justified due to its wider use within areas like IT.

Our customers do not view our company as a supplier, but instead trusted advisors, a situation we would not have arrived at if we had been subjected to a reverse auction process.

While reverse auctions may achieve lowest price they do not in any way represent best value. Is anyone considering whole life costs or the financial rewards of strong partnerships and collaborative working?

James Atkinson, head of business development and marketing, Causeway Technologies, Keystone House, Boundary Road, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP10 9PN

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