Local government has a need for all kinds of services, from taxis to stationery. And to ensure that they get the best deals, they acquire them through a procurement process—one that, as suppliers of software to councils, we’ve become very familiar with ourselves.
It’s quite simple: every category of goods or services has its own ID number. You identify the ones that are closest to what you provide—so in our case, it might be software development, software consultancy, and the provision of software packages.
Then you sign up to receive notifications every time a council puts out a request for tenders that fall within one of those categories.
Our newest team member, Camilla, has been spending a lot of time signing up for these notifications across all the various platforms in the UK (buy her a drink if you see her: procurement websites might just be amongst the most infuriating and clunky known to man), and as a result, she’s noticed that as well as all the categories you’d expect, there are also plenty more that you wouldn’t.
For example, who knew that councils had such a regular need for
15112310 Foie gras
98331000 Turkish bath services
16710000 Pedestrian-controlled agricultural tractors
35321100 Hand guns
and as if that’s not enough…
35321300 Machine guns
There are plenty more categories that might make you go ‘hmm’ – take a look for yourself.
Oh, and here’s a thought – if you’d like to ask your own local council what their expenditure is on nightwear, foie gras or machine guns, you can do so very easily at our own WhatDoTheyKnow.com.