From a business perspective, as the situation escalates across the UK, we are witnessing an increase in urgent project requests from a public sector that requires extensive additional support to manage the outbreak effectively. Here at Bloom we understand that procurement speed is of the essence during such a crisis to ensure our public sector customers get the urgent services they require. We have therefore implemented an urgent COVID-19 requirement process for you so that you can access our marketplace of pre-approved suppliers. We will deliver these urgent requirements in a fully auditable manner whilst appropriately managing the contact risk and delivery on your behalf.
Our process has been set up in response to Procurement Policy Note 01/20: Responding to COVID-19, to ensure rapid direct awards can be delivered through the NEPRO3 framework, whilst still maintaining the correct levels of governance and contract assurance.
Bloom, as the delivery partner for the NEPRO3 framework, are already working with buyers and suppliers across our marketplace to understand business continuity plans and to ensure that we can support you during this difficult time. The PPN outlines the approach to payments to maintain business continuity, with the section highlighted related to contracts which operate ‘payment by result’ or are ‘output/outcome’ based.
“Contracting authorities should confirm with their at risk suppliers that they will continue to pay until at least the end of June, to ensure business and service continuity. Contracting can define their ‘at risk suppliers’ according to need. In general, this should override provisions in contracts that might require contracting authorities to pay suppliers on a decreasing scale as a result of, for example performance, force majeure or business continuity clauses.”
“There are a range of ways to support suppliers in maintaining cash flow during this period. Contracting authorities can continue to pay at usual contractual rates, or consider other options such as payment against revised/extended milestones or timescales, interim payments, forward ordering, payment on order or payment in advance/prepayment. Risks associated with advance or pre payment should be carefully considered and documented.”
“Where contracts operate ‘payment by result’ or are ‘output / outcome’ based, payments to suppliers should be made on the basis of a calculation of the average of the last three months invoices. Where possible, any payments made to suppliers during this emergency period should be adjusted to ensure profit margin is not payable on any undelivered aspects of the contract, however this should not delay payments being made.”
“Suppliers should identify in their invoices which elements of the invoiced amount relates to services they are continuing to supply (i.e. business as usual) and which amounts are attributable to the impact of COVID-19. Payments should not be made to suppliers where there is no contractual volume commitment to supply, and contracting authorities should carefully consider the extent of payments to be made to suppliers who are underperforming and subject to an existing improvement plan.”