Kombucha Vinegar VS Apple Cider Vinegar

We know the health benefits of drinking fermented probiotics drinks like kombucha. But are there any benefits to consuming kombucha vinegar? Raw unpasteurised apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used as a health tonic & natural preservative for hundreds of years – can we get the same benefits from a kombucha vinegar?

Kombucha vinegar is simply kombucha which has fermented twice the amount of time & turned sour. So it’s very easy to make – particularly if you forget about your ‘buch culture sometimes! Just make your kombucha as you normally would with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts) black or green tea & sugar. Allow the culture to consume all the sugar & ferment for up to 60 days. (Tip: If you’re just starting out making your own kombucha & find that your kombucha is too sour for your taste just keep fermenting to make your own vinegar!).

LCTA and Assessing “Value” In Procurement – Tricky but Key

We wrote recently here about the US government “lowest cost technically acceptable” (LCTA) policy, that requires an organisation to choose the lowest cost tender from potential providers that meets the basic requirements defined by the buyer.

It seems to be becoming less popular, but as said in the previous article, it does highlight a couple of interesting and quite challenging issues for public sector buyers. The first is linked to the whole issue of “value”, how it is defined and measured – and evaluated in tenders. The logic for not accepting the lowest cost tender – or the lowest cost acceptable tender – is that non-cost factors in a bidder’s proposal can add real value to that proposal and make it the “best” selection for the buyer to make.

So we look at a proposal for software and assess that some of the additional features of one supplier’s proposal add value that makes it worth paying an additional amount of money over and above a more basic proposal. That may be true even if the basic proposal meets all the stated needs in the tender documentation. It may be that the buyer did not realise such features were available, or assesses that the additional featured will bring real benefits to users.

This Week’s News from the Public Procurement Cafe

Webinar – ICLEI’s  initiatives, activities and achievements in the field of sustainable and innovation procurement

Hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme Division of Technology, Industry and
Economics, Cities and Lifestyles Unit, this webinar on September 13 is co-organised with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). The webinar presents the initiatives, activities and achievements of ICLEI in the field of sustainable and innovation procurement.

Human Rights and Public Procurement – International Learning Lab Hits Its Stride

The International Learning Lab on Public Procurement and Human Rights was launched last year and is co-organised by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), the Harrison Institute at Georgetown Law, the Public Procurement Research Group of Nottingham University, and several other people and organisations, including our friend Andy Davies of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium.

This is a hot topic in public procurement, and only likely to get hotter, we suspect. Stories about conditions in electronics and garment factories for instance have hit the national press. Citizens and taxpayers are rightly horrified to think that ‘their’ money, being spent by contracting authorities via public procurement, may be helping support human rights abuses in those and other areas.

So the Learning Lab aims to be a platform and mechanism for:

–  experience-sharing among procurement actors on approaches to integrating respect for human rights;

–  generating knowledge about public procurement law and policy and human rights;

–  producing and disseminating tools and guidance to build capacity to integrate human rights issues among procurement professionals; and

–  promoting coherence between procurement and human rights in international and regional frameworks and initiatives.

Public Procurement Trade-offs: Commerciality Versus Corruption

For each of the trade-offs, we are looking in more detail at the nature of the potential conflict, then suggest some steps that public procurement professionals can take to minimise the potential for real issues and problems. The nature of these trade-offs means that there are no magic solutions, but there are ways to reduce the risks. Today, a trade-off that can have huge implications for contracting authorities and even entire countries.

Single-Supplier Framework In London – Guaranteeing Value Will Not Be Easy

We picked up on a new UK public sector contract the other day, that raises some interesting issues going beyond the specific category, contracting authority or indeed country. It concerns a framework agreement put in place by three London boroughs to provide technology-related services. Here are the details as reported by Mobile News.

Pan-London agreement will see BT provide ICT and UC services to three boroughs in the capital.

BT has won a £200 million contract as the sole supplier to provide a range of ICT products and services under a new pan-London public sector procurement framework agreement.

Potential customers can choose from a number of products and services that includes local and wide area networking, cloud services, fixed and mobile telephony, unified communications and conferencing.

It is the latest of four frameworks established by the tri-borough, comprising the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster City Council.

Are you sick of getting colds & flu?

Australian adults suffer from 2 to 4 colds a year with children contracting up to 10 colds a year. That’s an estimated 96 billion colds a year!!! So the chances of avoiding a nasty cold or flu can be slim particularly when you are exposed to those germs from other people on buses, in shopping centres, your work, and children. Eating a healthy diet of vitamin rich fruits and vegetables will go a long way to preventing illness but boosting your immune system with therapeutic strength herbs gives you an even greater chance of giving those colds the flick!

Rip-Off Pricing on Generic Drugs – a Failure of Public Procurement?

The Times last week featured an investigation the paper undertook to look at firms manufacturing generic drugs. These firms – not the household name companies – tend to buy the rights to long-established, off-patent drugs from large pharmaceutical firms. They look for those “generics” that don’t have real competition in the market, and because of the weakness of the National Health Service (NHS) pharmaceutical procurement process, they are then able to charge pretty much what they like for these drugs.

In numerous cases the producer has raised the price many times over recent years. As the Times reported, “the price of 32 drugs have risen by more than 1,000 percent over the past five years”. So a drug that cost £9.57 a packet five years ago in one case now costs £353.06! The price of Welldorm, an insomnia drug, rose from “£12.10 a pack to £138.56 between late 2014 and this month, an increase of more than 1,000 per cent”.

Categorized as Health

The Garden Bridge and the Sunk Cost Fallacy in Government Projects

We have written a number of times about the Garden Bridge project in London, mainly from the angle of the very flawed procurement process that was used to choose the designer and project management firm for the project. There was pressure from politicians for the procurement to choose two firms who were already involved in the work prior to the formal procurement process starting, and indeed those two firms were chosen. There are also general questions about the cost of the bridge and whether London needs another crossing of the Thames at this point.

But we don’t want to go into all that again today (you can read more here if you are interested in that history). Instead, we want to follow up on the recent comment of the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. He gave his support to the bridge, to many campaigner’s dismay, and his argument seemed to include the concern that if it was scrapped now, the money spent already would have been wasted.

ProZorro – Set to Save the Ukraine from Public Sector Corruption

Ukraine’s new public sector eSourcing system is the country’s Trojan-like attempt to tackle corruption in the midst of austerity measures and territorial dispute. ProZorro, bearing the name of the fictional masked crusader bent on avenging the helpless and oppressed, and punishing corruption, has completed a year-long pilot and is now ready to be mandated as the electronic public procurement platform to run state procurement online. All public procurement is to be moved over to the system in August of this year.

The Wall Street Journal has a good article explaining more here, but behind the paywall, and of course there is more on the official website.

In a nutshell: Ukraine has been running a system that regulates paper document procedures for public procurement, but experiences of other countries have shown it that an electronic system can bring 10% to 20% savings in the first year. Ukraine believes that this rate could be significantly improved as the system lessens corruption. The Wall Street Journal reports that “… the procurement budget was around $11 billion in 2014, or 8.5% of its GDP of $131.8 billion, but an estimated 10% of that spending is lost to corruption, and another 10% wasted on pricey contracts owing to the lack of competition, “ as stated by Max Nefyodov, Ukraine’s deputy minister for economic development and trade.