In 2023, the national electronic tendering platform, eTenders, switched to a new service provider, marking the first time in a decade that eTenders has changed to a different platform. eTenders is facilitated and managed by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP), the national authority for public procurement within Ireland.
To facilitate ongoing access to past procurement competition data that was hosted on the previous platform, public buyers and suppliers have up until now been able to access the previous (legacy) eTenders platform. This is changing soon, and access to the eTenders legacy platform is ceasing in May 2024. The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) is encouraging public procurement buyers to take action now and follow three key steps set out below, to ensure that they retain the procurement competition data they require.
Maintaining procurement competition records
Using eTenders enables and facilitates public buyers to procure electronically and to comply with public procurement regulations. Contracting authorities and public buyers should maintain appropriate records throughout the purchasing process and beyond in accordance with the public procurement, data protection, data retention, legal, and policy requirements that they are subject to.
The National Public Procurement Guidelines state that “eTenders should not be used as a storage facility and that all relevant documentation records should be maintained off the platform by the contracting authority”.
While eTenders was never intended as a facility for long-term record keeping, over the years, many buyers have become accustomed to the convenience of using eTenders to store and access past procurement data. For some public buyers, the legacy and current eTenders platform may have been used as part of their approach to meeting record keeping and data retention obligations.
However, due to scale, complexity and associated risks to data integrity, past procurement competition data was not transferred from the legacy eTenders platform to the current eTenders platform. To facilitate interim access to past procurement data, the previous eTenders platform has remained online and accessible to buyers and suppliers. However, this access to the eTenders legacy platform will cease in May 2024, and the OGP is encouraging public procurement buyers to take action now to ensure they retrieve the procurement competition data required from the platform in advance of this date.
Key steps to retrieve data from eTenders
There are three key steps public buyers should take to retrieve data associated with past procurement competitions from the eTenders legacy platform:
• Step 1: Close: The first step is to close any procurement competition that you want to retrieve the data for.
• Step 2: Archive: Closed competitions can now be moved to the archive area on the legacy site. Public buyers can configure the legacy eTenders platform to automatically transfer data and associated documents for closed competitions into an archiving area on the platform, for any competition that has been closed for a specific number of days. Company administrators are able to choose the specific number of days that will best suit their organisation’s needs.
• Step 3: Download: Once a procurement competition has been closed and archived, you can download the archive file for the relevant procurement competition data and documents to your designated storage location. The archive file will include all relevant documentation, such as tender notices, bidder responses, messaging and an audit trail for the competition process carried out on the platform.
A detailed guide with further information on how to close, archive and download procurement competition data from the eTenders legacy platform is available on the OGP website.
While the three-step process to retrieve data from the eTenders legacy platform is relatively simple, public buyers may have other internal operational arrangements they need to make and need to act now to identify which procurement competitions to retrieve and to prepare to store data for.
Access to the eTenders legacy platform will cease in May 2024, and the OGP is encouraging public buyers to take action now to ensure they retain the procurement competition data they require. By doing this, public buyers will ensure that they can continue to be able to meet their operational needs and their legal and policy obligations.
For further information, please visit:
The Office of Government Procurement
The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) is the national authority for public procurement and is responsible for driving the public procurement reform programme in Ireland. The OGP operates as a Division of the Department of Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform.