Improving cost effectiveness with eTendering (vortalGOV-MJustice)

Published on: 04/03/2010

The Portuguese Ministry of Justice is a government ministry in Portugal. Since 2008, all public sector employers in Portugal (local authorities and government administration) have had to tender for contracts exclusively by electronic means on e-tendering platforms. The Portuguese Ministry of Justice Procurement Directorate identified the need to increase transparency and cost effectiveness for all contracting processes.

Traditional tendering is characteristically time consuming and expensive. Most of the money is spent on tender advertisement and publication, printing, copying and postage costs related to tender documents and administrative handling overheads. E-tendering is an alternative process for preparing tender proposals for submission to contracting authorities.

The directorate had to meet ambitious savings targets through strategic procurement and improve efficiency through restructuring and process review. The solution was to adopt an e-tendering platform and anticipate legal requirements by starting the e-tendering process early.

Vortal was chosen to modernise the internal public tendering process whilst enhancing efficiency and controlling the cost of major services and goods. One of the main priorities for the directorate was to guarantee the security, confidentiality and non-repudiation of submitted proposals and documents.

Vortal was selected for its authentication, authorisation, encryption, identification with digital certificates, traceability and non-repudiation capacity. This enables the highest level of information confidentiality and security. To satisfy the tendering requirements, Vortal developed a robust electronic platform, vortalGOV, built on a service-oriented architecture for high productivity, performance and scalability. The company maintains a core system architecture using the latest technology to provide electronic services such as Microsoft SQL Server and BizTalk.

Using this platform, the directorate could input tender documents, clarifications, messages and notifications to market operators, making bids electronically using Web-based technologies alone. Market operators simply need an Internet browser to receive automatic notification of a tender for goods or services, according to business type. When accessing the tender, they can download the procedures, ask for clarification and send proposals.

Instead of mountains of paper to analyse, the directorate now has all the proposals in electronic format. The Vortal platform is supported by an automatic, powerful, proposal analysis engine with different evaluation criteria and deviation analysis features to facilitate the process. When first launched to procure cleaning services for a total of 15 buildings, the vortalGOV platform saved the directorate around €175,000 on awarded costs totalling €765,000.

From an economic perspective, vortalGOV has reduced directorate administrative and procurement costs significantly. The e-tendering process was therefore greatly simplified and fully dematerialised, giving a 53 per cent reduction in comparison to traditional process costs. The directorate has also seen an increase in the number of electronic proposals, encouraging competition between operators.

Industry: Justice and legislation

Country: Portugal

Solution: E-tendering

Partner: Vortal

Technology: Microsoft SQL Server, BizTalk

Benefits: Reduced costs, increase in number of proposal


Technology solution

Technology choice: Standards-based technology

Lessons learnt

Benefits: Reduced costs, increase in number of proposals, more transparency.                        

Scope: International