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December 14, 2018updated 17 Dec 2018 5:29pm

What is this Mystery Company Doing Procuring £1 BILLION of IT Equipment?

Questions abound...

By CBR Staff Writer

Updated 17/12/18 with comment from TET Ltd.

If you haven’t heard of Poise Purchasing Solutions, based at a Companies House eFiling agent’s address in Covent Garden’s Shelton Street, you’re not alone.

So what is a company that was only incorporated three weeks ago (27 November 2018) doing supporting public sector procurement of over £1 billion in IT equipment?

The company says in a European tender announcement on Thursday 13 December that it is “requesting tenders for the purchase of ICT equipment, software and services for use by or on behalf of public sector bodies in the UK.”

It posts an estimated value of £500,000 for what appears to be a framework agreement.

Not the POISE Framework… 

It claims to be a non-profit.

The contract notice reads: “Poise Purchasing Solutions are a non-profit social enterprise organisation offering procurement solutions and services to support cost efficiencies to public bodies.”

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And indeed there is a “Poise Framework” (slightly different name) set up by Brunel University to do precisely this.

Yet an account director at the Poise Framework’s prime supplier, TET Ltd. claimed in a short call with Computer Business Review not to have heard of the new procurement/framework announcements this week.

Paul Knight told us: “I can category confirm that this procurement process has nothing to do with TET Limited or Brunel University and the POISE Framework, please do not associate either of us with this new organisation or tender process.”

…and Not a Non-Profit

And Poise Purchasing Solutions does not appear to be a non-profit: instead, it is registered as a private company limited by guarantee without share capital.

From mainframes to laptops; wire, fibre, satellite and radio networks, the mystery entity appears to want it all: Poise Purchasing Solutions wants contractors to pitch it hardware including “mainframe, mid-range, mini-computers, PC’s, laptops, netbooks and peripheral equipment” in its £500 million procurement notice.

In a second notice, on Friday 14 December, it said it is opening a procurement framework for potentially up to £700,000,000 of  iOS/MacOS compatible products.

What’s Going On? 

Curiously, despite just being posted and the sum being so huge, the company sets a time limit for receipt of tenders of just 10 January 2019.

A phone number listed as a contact point says it is not taking calls.

An email address meanwhile shows a url that is pending ICANN registration and which differs starkly to the url of Brunel’s own Poise Framework (fwork-poise.com vs poise-purchasing.org).

It was was registered by privacy service “Identity Protect Limited” for a “Mesh Digital Limited”.

The new company “Poise Purchasing Solutions‘ sole registered director, a Stephanie Amer, is listed as “Steph A” on LinkedIn where she says she is an ICT procurement specialist at Brunel University. The university’s switchboard could not find Computer Business Review any staff with the surname and was unable to put us through.

While there is no allegation of wrongdoing by Computer Business Review, the procurement framework announcement seems distinctly odd – and certainly has some transparency issues. The Poise Framework itself, a non-profit social enterprise organisation that does indeed aim to support cost efficiencies for public bodies works through prime supplier TET Ltd. which describes itself as having “direct purchasing relationships with all major vendors and distributors.”

It only lists contact details for TET, who couldn’t help us.

Any readers able to cast some light on proceedings, please do get in touch.

See also: IT Procurement: “Still the Wild West and It Favours the Vendors”

 

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