Computacenter criticises government procurement catalogue

Computacenter has expressed dismay at the Office of Government Commerce's changes to Gcat, the public sector procurement...

Computacenter has expressed dismay at the Office of Government Commerce's changes to Gcat, the public sector procurement catalogue.

The OGC's decision to award contracts to 26 companies for the supply of products and services to its GCat2 procurement catalogue have put an end to Computacenter's monopoly over the supply line.

Colin Brown, government sector director for Computacenter, insisted that he is not worried about the new system and told that many of the new suppliers would fail to handle the pressure of competition.

"The 25 new suppliers have only won a ticket to the match, they are not guaranteed any success or any business," said Brown. "It will take time for this new framework to bed in and, quite frankly, many of the companies will just be making up the numbers. We are not afraid. Customers will stick with us."

Brown claimed opening up Gcat had been unnecessary and believes the new arrangements will only serve to put more pressure on customers by providing 26 points of entry rather than one.

He said: "It is difficult to know why OGC has changed the structure. It was meant to provide a wider role for fair competition for SMEs, so I was expecting to see more SMEs among the 26 successful companies listed. Computacenter has worked hard to ease the burden on customers and this could now put it all back on."

Brown found some surprise absentees and inclusions in the list of successful companies and said he was sceptical of claims made by Hugh Barrett, the executive director of the OGC Supplier Relations team. "Barrett said that the new arrangement will provide great flexibility for departments to get the benefits of aggregation, but I think you will find that it is more likely to dilute the service."

Bruce Ackland

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