250 Million Pounds Up for Grabs in the Crown of Contracts
The UK’s Crown Commercial Service (CCS) awarded one of the world’s largest ever language services contract to a total of 13 suppliers on April 22, 2016. Tasked with rolling three previous language services contracts (ref: RM987, RM738, CAG/912/0181) into one, the CSS launched one giant tender that could be worth as much as GBP 250m and will run for three years with an optional 12-month extension.
The suppliers of the previous contracts were K International and thebigword for written translation, and LanguageLine, Prestige Network, and thebigword for face-to-face Interpreting. Telephone interpreting was likely provided by LanguageLine and thebigword, but the actual contract award was unavailable. Of all the incumbents, only LanguageLine is not included in the new list of suppliers.
Three in One
The CSS’ rationale behind rolling those three contracts into one was probably to shake up the government’s existing, less than satisfactory procurement process by adding more vendors into the mix―a strategy that is now also being tried at the county level.
While the CCS states the contract value could be anywhere from GBP 140m to GBP 250m, this range is by no means assured, according to people familiar with the matter. Face-to-face interpreting will likely make up the largest spend, followed by written translation and phone interpretation.
One caveat with this crown of contracts, though, is that it is a framework agreement. Meaning, it does not guarantee any work. It only shortlists vendors that buyers coming from anywhere in the UK government can use. These pre-approved vendors may supply language services at any level, from county authorities to national organizations like Britain’s health service NHS or the Department of Work and Pensions.
It is unclear why the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which is running a similar process, did not piggyback onto this giant CCS framework. Slator’s sources say the MoJ did indeed want to join it, but was displeased at the CCS’ protracted process. Rather than suffer through the long delay, the MoJ went ahead and launched its own. Ironically, the MoJ has yet to announce its winners.
Read complete article here.