PQQ’s and LtP
Public sector clients in Northern Ireland have been obliged to progressively develop and improve the approach to contract procurement. Gone are the days of generic prequalification questionnaires. The range and extent of questions has given rise to specialist PQQ, in house writers and pricey outside consultants to help win that contract.
During the past decade, there have been more contractors than available work. Supply has exceeded demand. This has forced most to adopt a toxic, hard bid, low cost approach to public sector tendering projects. Public sector procurement organisations have also been driven by the EU towards a quality improvement and value for money agenda. This inevitably means that the burden to produce evidence in support of PQQ returns is progressively increased. Trading history, contract performance, financials, management skills and resources have always featured in the requirements of the PQQ approach.
Since February 2014 the NI Central Procurement Directorate has been persuaded by the local industry to add an important and perhaps overlooked dimension to NI PQQ’s. The additional requirement being the scrutiny of individual workers through an on line licence to practice system.
Why was the system developed?
Quality improvement and value for money are the drivers for the new licence to practice system. At the present time there are circa 2500 to 3000 practicing electrical workers based in Northern Ireland. Over half of these workers are dependent on projects emanating from the public sector. Significant numbers of electrical workers are either unqualified or underqualified for the work that they are tasked to carry out. Licence to practice is aimed at providing the Client with a resource to discern and select the preferred electrical contractor based on the competency and composition of their direct and subcontracted workforce.
The system is primarily designed to highlight the competency of electrical workers to the client and by virtue of this reveal those who are substantially untrained and unqualified. A secondary purpose of the system is to help motivate and steer unqualified and underqualified workers to acceptable client and industry standards.
What difference will it make?
Electrical Contractors who are committed to quality improvement measures are more likely to win contracts, acquire repeat business and earn profits. This can and has been undone by others who depend on a supply chain producing sub economic bids based on a supply chain comprising of lower cost, untrained and unqualified workers. Until the introduction of the licence to practice system most public sector procurement organisations lacked a reliable independent resource to verify the competencies of the electrical contractor’s workforce. Licence to practice solves this problem. The client will have 24/7 access to a simple, transparent, online system that facilitates greater scrutiny and management of the electrical workers that are employed by the electrical contractor.