The UK government's plans for electronic tendering are in turmoil after a £300,000 pilot scheme failed to deliver on its objectives.
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) said in a statement that the TenderTrust initiative will not now be rolled out across government departments.
The scheme, which would have delivered up to £13m a year in savings, has now been shelved. "E-tendering is going forward. TenderTrust was just not the right vehicle," said an OGC spokesman.
Why the pilot failed remains unclear. The spokesman was unable to confirm which objectives had not been met, but it appears that the large number of processes for drawing up tenders derailed the project.
"It was clear that suppliers wanted to deal with only one system. In future we may have to examine ways of bringing departments closer together," he said.
TenderTrust was launched last April but has been beset with problems. In January, the OGC admitted that it was abandoning plans to introduce e-tendering by the end of the year because of security concerns.
But the OGC spokesman denied that security issues were to blame for the project being moth-balled.
"Security wasn't a problem. Suppliers had insisted that their offers would not be disclosed to competitors, and this issue was addressed. Security was one of the successes of the pilot," he maintained.
According to the OGC, the pilot had demonstrated a strong demand for e-tendering from government departments and their suppliers.
"We have learnt some valuable lessons from the scheme, and will be taking them forward when we do roll out a scheme for all departments," said the spokesman.
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