New information system to reduce accidents
The existing fire inspection information systems used by the rescue services no longer fully meet the needs and will soon reach the end of their service lives. Four years ago, the rescue division of the Ministry of the Interior took over the preparation of the procurement of an accident prevention information system and the related tendering.
The definition work and the start of the procurement phase were slowed down by the fact that much had to be done from scratch, the cancellation of the regional government reform in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of the Interior was nevertheless determined to continue the preparation of the procurement of the information system, and in 2022, the competitive bidding for the accident prevention system could be carried out through a negotiated procedure, with the support of Hansel’s specialists.
The procurement involved a system that is unique, also globally speaking, to serve the rescue authorities involved in accident prevention. The aim is to ensure that the rescue services have a single common information system to replace the existing systems used for fire inspections. This will make accident prevention more effective and enable the preparation of statistics and data analytics at the national level – not to mention a better customer experience.
Procurement ring defined requirements together
During the project, nearly a hundred persons were involved in the preparation and review of the requirement specification, some of them from the systems side and others rescue services professionals. The requirement specification was drafted carefully, but there was still room for improvement:
“In hindsight, the requirement specification could have been better designed to support the procurement phase and the chosen procurement method. However, good progress was made when we started the procurement phase with Hansel,” says Matti Savolainen, Senior Specialist at the rescue division of the Ministry of the Interior.
Some staff changes took place during the preparatory phase, and the important Ministry of the Interior subcontractors Vimana and SoteDigi were merged to form DigiFinland Oy. Due to the many changes, it was decided that the Ministry of the Interior would act as the purchasing body and form a procurement ring with the rescue services. The negotiated procedure proved a good choice because the three rounds of negotiations provided a good idea of what the market had to offer and what the price levels of the different options would be. A decision to choose agile software development was made because fixed pricing excessively increased the risk provision included in the offers.
“Ilkka Sihvola, Head of Unit, and Jutta Uusitalo, Legal Counsel, from Hansel helped us make a good assessment of which actions to take based on the feedback we received from the potential suppliers. They gave us good advice on how to further specify the invitation to tender,” Savolainen praises.
Successful tendering on schedule
At the start of the procurement phase, the project team was somewhat sceptical about how cooperation between the different stakeholders would work remotely. However, Hansel already had plenty of experience from conducting similar negotiations during the pandemic, and the discussions with the potential suppliers went well.
“We were able to meet in person a couple of times, although we had to limit the number of people present at any time. We are talking about defence and security procurement, which means that we had to present the non-public part of the requirement specification at carefully planned briefings,” Savolainen says.
Security clearances and the preparation of security agreements took some time, and some revisiting of the plans made during the requirement specification phase was necessary as the procurement progressed. However, we stayed more or less on schedule in the end, which was highly praised by those involved in the project in a procurement phase feedback survey.
According to the current estimates, the first phase of the implementation of the accident prevention system will be completed in 2024, at which time the old systems can be phased out. There will then be further development phases to build new functionalities on top of the basic implementation.
“We are pleased with the outcome. We ended up with a skilled group of suppliers to assist us, and the cooperation has got off to a good start. I believe that this massive entity, which was defined in an invitation to tender of more than 1,000 pages, is in good hands. Once our entire vision for the system has been realised, we will have an excellent system that, when combined with people, will reduce accidents,” says a satisfied Savolainen.
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