Government Procurement Service (GPS) agrees to work more closely with CESA in future – and help members in the short term

Following the meeting between CESA, the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association, and the Government Procurement Service (GPS), it has been agreed that its tendering process, which has been a contentious issue for many equipment companies, will be re-examined for future tenders.  However, this will not happen until next year. 

In the meantime, GPS has offered to help catering equipment companies who were unsuccessful in tendering for a place on the framework agreement this year on a ‘one to one basis,’ to explain the process and how to complete tenders more effectively.  In addition, GPS and CESA will work together to set up training seminars to help companies to submit compliant proposals. 

The  tendering process is part of  major changes being implemented within GPS, including the launch of a new  e-sourcing system, and the adoption of an Open procurement procedure to deliver tendering exercises within 120 working days, from the notification of a tendering exercise opportunity (via the Official Journal of the European Union), to the award of a framework agreement.  The catering framework was one of the first tenders delivered on the new e-sourcing system.  CESA was told that the increased number of questions was a result of ‘disaggregating the questions to the requirement of the ecommerce system.’ 

Many companies have complained that the new e-sourcing system and tendering process is onerous and over-complicated.  At the meeting GPS confirmed that, in future, it will ‘engage earlier’ with CESA and its members to ensure that the consultation process is more effective. 

GPS has also agreed to work with CESA to establish working groups of member companies to develop generic specifications for the tendering process. 

“We set out to make GPS aware of members concerns about the process this year,” said Mick Shaddock, chair of CESA.  “Consultation in the future will be better and there will be time to take account of CESA members’ concerns.  In the short term, GPS will help individual companies who are struggling with the new tendering process.” 

Later in the meeting CESA pressed on the issue of sustainability.  GPS confirmed it is investigating whole life costs of catering equipment, and that these could form part of the evaluation criteria for future tendering exercises.  As part of this process, CESA is going to arrange to invite GPS representatives to the newly established DEFRA Carbon Trust working group on lifecycle models.  The Association also agreed to provide a briefing on the current situation with energy efficiency standards in the EU, as part of its role as the chair of the European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers (EFCEM) Technical Committee.

Following the meeting David Shields agreed to speak at the CESA conference, in association with FCSI & BHA, on the 16th November 2012 at Whilltebury Hall, Northamptonshire.

The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) is the authoritative voice of the catering equipment industry, representing over 160 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment – from utensils to full kitchen schemes.  For more information on CESA visit