We Applaud This Sensible Approach to Tendering

In our experience (and possibly yours), large government or Local Authority Translation and Interpreting contracts are awarded to the absolute lowest bidder, (sometimes) forsaking quality of provision, reliability and customer service, resulting in a false economy of increased costs for staff time, venue bookings, specialist fees, etc., etc... Often the bid managers are forced into this decision due to government directives. But it costs them more in the long-run...

Another key thing that happens, in our experience at least, is that when the services can't be fulfilled by the winning organisation, the companies that can supply a quality service are approached. It's a recurring pattern which we face every 3 or 4 years or so.

Us, bitter? No. Frustrated? Yes!

We're therefore pleased to read that Finland's Procurement Agency 'Hansel', after previously facing a lot of criticism over their LSP (Language Service Provider) procurement process, have played a blinder in their recent contract awards for a 'justice and litigation services and interpretation' tender (read the contract award notice here).

They haven't awarded all of the contract to one large supplier who doesn't know all the individual regions of Finland (the UK equivalent of which we can be heard moaning about a lot). They have split up the tender to ensure a comprehensive relevant service.

Key points:

Lot 1: Nationwide remote interpreting services (EUR 7.9m) - awarded to 7 providers.

Lot 2: Onsite interpretation services in Southern Finland (EUR 9.3m) - awarded to 7 providers.

Lots 3 (Eastern Finland), 4 (Lapland), 5 (Southwest Finland), 6 (Western and Northern Finland) and 7 (Northern Finland), ranging in value from EUR 0.4m to EUR 4m, have been awarded on a regional basis to 5 providers each.

This makes total sense to us. On a practical level, we know, understand and love the areas we operate in and (immodestly) feel that no one knows our towns as well as we do! 

Therefore our Public Sector clients are getting the best value for our tax money, because we can provide the best service provision of face-to-face interpreters in this area. This is because we know how long it takes to get somewhere on a bus, (especially when we know that Example Road has currently got roadworks), we understand the local dialects, the trends in immigration, education levels and cultural barriers, conflict of interests, local economic factors, etc, etc... need we go on?

We don't want to win a contract to supply every Interpreter for a local council on the other side of the country - because it's just not our town. But we do want to be given a sensible opportunity to provide the best service for our local area.

I think we may just have something in common with Finns there!


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