Tender for Town Council Management System – updates

Looks like the PAP-run town councils have put out a call for tender on February 4th with an advertisement in the morning newsletter.



As can be seen in the ad, there was a briefing that needed to be attended by interested parties that was held on February 7, which happens to be a couple of days before the Lunar New Year holidays. While that is not a big deal, the chances of people missing out on attending this briefing is pretty high given the long weekend that came after that.

Notwithstanding that, it is important to note that if you did not attend the briefing, you cannot get to the actual tender documents even if you choose to pay the $107 for the documents. The tender does ask for the interested parties to be of the EPU/CMP/10 class. If that is the type of entities that are minimally needed, this is a really big project. If it is a big project, then why are the documents not found on the GeBIZ site? The GeBIZ site says that:

“GeBIZ is the Singapore government’s one-stop e-procurement portal. All the public sector’s invitations for quotations and tenders are posted on GeBIZ. Suppliers can search for government procurement opportunities, download tender documents, and submit their bids online. GeBIZ allows any supplier to access public sector business opportunities anywhere and anytime with just an Internet connection.”

Of course, if someone can actually find the tender docs on the GeBIZ, I stand corrected.

I would want to know a few things about the new system that is being requested:

a) Is the project going to be built using open source tools and applications?

b) Will the code of the application be made publicly downloadable once it is done – since it was paid for by tax dollars?

c) Can open source developers take part in this?

The tender closes on March 4 and I look forward to knowing the results.


  1. As far as I’m aware, town councils do not have access to GeBiz. This is why the tender notices are published in the papers instead of on a centralized website.

    • That is indeed puzzling. Why would town councils which come under MND not be on GeBiz? The quantum of the tender in terms of the financial qualifications of the tender participants does indicate that this is for a lot of cash.

  2. I’m really really surprised if this is not on Gebiz. Nowadays all stat boards and govt-related entities are required to tender all purchases openly on Gebiz even for cheap stuff like stationery, pens and pencils. The reason is for transparency and to reach out to as many competing bidders as possible.

  3. Harish,

    I just went to consult Ministry of Finance/SPRING Singapore’s Government Procurement Guide for SMEs[1]. It’s pretty instructive.

    First, about the eligibility criteria.

    The EPU/CMP/10 class doesn’t mean much, it’s just the category of service (head of supply) that the project is in. It’s the Financial Grade (S9) afterwards that really prevents many vendors from, in this case, even attending the tender briefing.

    Possessing Financial Grade S9 allows a vendor to tender for projects with value >$10m (this is what the eligibility criteria is referring to). To be granted this grade, the vendor must have
    – Net Tangible Assets (paid-up capital + revenue reserves + preference/premium shares + accumulated profit (loss)) of at least $1.5m
    – Annual Turnover/Sales/Revenue of >$10m
    – Paid-up Capital of at least $1.5m.

    I think we all know AIM’s paid-up capital, thanks to ST. I have to wonder how many vendors actually qualify for S9 or S10 grade. Definitely not any SME. Assuming they are not overestimating the cost, I think it’s quite reasonable to require this S9 grade, because the next grade (S8) is for projects <$10m, and this project might well be an ERP-level kind of project, with the references to "Integrated" this and that. Simply put, they want someone with a track record of landing large contracts; and in this case, even if your *annual* turnover is $11m, you qualify to bid for this *one* project which might be $10m-30m.

    Second, about GeBIZ and tenders.

    All those Invitations to Quote (ITQ) you see on GeBIZ are between $3000-$70,000, because those are more or less required to be posted openly. For value about $70,000, it becomes a tender process, which has three types: Open (on GeBIZ), Selective (pre-qualification exercise to shortlist vendors, followed by inviting selected vendors to bid), and Limited (by invitation only, due to "national security" or "because of intellectual property rights or for works of art").

    That said, it seems that Town Councils are actually unable to use GeBIZ. (I haven't been able to confirm this.) If that's the case, this point is moot; they can only (and must) place ads to offer the tender.

    On the bright side, on the surface without details from the tender briefing and documents, it seems to be a much better conducted tender, at least in this first step of offering the tender.
    They are properly leveraging the Government's EPPU framework to qualify vendors based on their size and financial muscle to bid for a large software development project that's basically at the level of an ERP and more.
    They have a roughly 4 week period between tender briefing and closing date.

    We must admit it's an improvement from the previous one, where simply being linked to the PAP appeared to be a super-qualifier!

    [1] http://app.mof.gov.sg/data/cmsresource/For%20Businesses/Govt%20Procurement%20Guide%20SME%20ver2%20Apr2006.pdf

    • Thanks for your comments, cflee. I am not familiar enough with the GeBIZ model and I would be surprised that government agencies are not using it in the spirit that their About box suggests.

      I can understand national security type tenders not showing up and surely the Town Council tender is outside that realm.

      The way they mismanaged the AIM process should have suggested to them to be far more transparent and it appears to me that they just don’t get it. For the record, no one from the current town councils (including the WP-run ones) has contacted me on my offer to help build an open source version of the solution to then be shared out for all.

      It cannot be that town councils have secret competitive stuff that would give other town councils an advantage if it was known. It is not like if my town council is screwed up, that I can go to another town council for their service. All town councils provide the same service to a captive audience. Why would they have to have different systems, regardless of their political masters?

      It is true that town councils were setup as a political high wall to thwart the non-PAP parties, but what bothers me is that this is done using tax dollars. It is also no different when the PAP threatened not to undertake HDB upgrading if the residents voted for a non-PAP candidate, keeping in mind that the HDB is publicly funded agency as well.

    • Based on what u wrote above, the conditions required, how did AIM qualify for winning the previous tender? Does it mean to say that it has T/O of over $10mil?

      • Previous tender didn’t have this requirement of financial grade, according to the newspaper ad. Part of how that one was more potentially mismanaged than this round.

Leave a Reply