The foundation Architectuur Lokaal, in cooperation with Chief Government Architect, 6 ministries, BNA (Royal Institute of Dutch Architects) and all other parties within the Dutch construction industry has established an independent Access Procurement Portal, Helpdesk and procedural guide. This e-procurement system commenced in 2005 and was built on experiences since 1997. Most of its core parts have now been running for over 4 years. www.ontwerpwedstrijden.nl
The portal is free to users and handles in excess of 300 public procurement processes per annum (2012) covering all public procurement notices, and automatically provides the services found within disparate locations (eg in the UK for both Contract Finder, and Mystery Shopper-ref appendix) and is fully integrated with the other equally important supplementary attributes summarised below.
This portal not only provides a graphically clear and simple portal for accessing construction projects issued through OJEU and others but also publishes guidance, assists by providing standard best practice recommendations, monitors procurement practice, and transparently advises procurers upon issue of notices where there are shortfalls, seeks remedy, monitors and evaluates awards, and operates a repository, registration and voluntary certification (wide endorsement) service. It monitors market data (and aberrant market behavior), publishes reports and promulgates best practice.
Cilly Jansen set up the portal which is run by Architectuur Lokaal. This is, crucially, an independent not for profit foundation sustained by subsidies and donation and run efficiently by a small committed staff of 6 people four days a week, and Cilly Jansen five days a week. Annual costs are on average €1M to run. (these are days are for Architectuur Lokaal as a whole). There is no legal / structural separation between Architectuur Lokaal and Steunpunt, which is just one of their services. Annual costs of the Steunpunt are on average €250k a year, including a.o. all ICT system developments). There are 2.5 employees per year dedicated to running the procurement portal services with additional support for advocacy as required.
The portal has gained enormous respect across the Dutch Construction industry and is frequently called upon to advise and evidence Dutch Procurement issues by national and local procurement agencies. It maintains continuous dialogue between public clients, architects and design and construction managers around its simple “manifesto for better procurement”.
In the EU Commissions Evaluation of the action Plan for the implementation of the legal framework for electronic procurement, (by Siemens / Time.lex for the EU Commission / Internal market 2010) Steunpunt was cited as the most accessible portal in NL. The site reported receiving 57,544 hits with 60% returning visitors over a 10 month period in 2012. It appears far superior, more advanced and better integrated than anything found for example in the UK. The Dutch procurement system delivers outputs which are significantly more efficient than our own and output quality in construction is generally perceived to be far better.