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The goal of the SKA procurement function is to ensure the successful execution of the SKA entire mission, by effectively and efficiently managing the acquisition process. The SKA Organisation’s approach to procurement is framed by the following principles:

• Openness, competitiveness and transparency recommended, noting the aspiration for Member States to receive some level of return for their investment.

• The procurement strategy may adopt innovative approaches for procurements e.g. strategic alliances where best value and lower risk can be realised.

• That such principles should be applied to both cash and in-kind contributions.

• That there be a form of centralised procurement process managed by the SKAO, with the SKAO also having responsibility for the valuation of in-kind contributions.

These principles are underpinned by a best ‘value-for-money’ acquisition policy, with primary consideration given to project mission success and performance. Factors will include reliability, supportability, ease of integration, purchase risk, and total acquisition cost. The points below frame the general determination of whether a proposal provides genuine value-for-money:

• the capability of the supplier to deliver to the agreed terms, preferably assessed on the basis of past contractual performance;

• the extent to which the product on offer meets or exceeds the specifications sought;

• the flexibility to adapt to possible change over the lifecycle of the product or service, including the extent to which it can be evolved to meet future capability needs;

• financial considerations including all relevant direct and indirect benefits and costs and risks over the whole procurement cycle, and beyond in the case of lifetime costs;

• evaluation of the risks associated with the alternative choices; and

• the cost-benefits of an accelerated delivery schedule.

The SKA procurement approach will generally concentrate on what is required in terms of the final capability or performance, and not on the detail of the product or service beyond obvious limits of physical size or power draw, etc. However for certain SKA components, systems and services, the more traditional approach (build-to-print) will be applicable, e.g. where various suppliers must each deliver numbers of identical product, or where the detail of the physical design is paramount.

The SKA organisation expects to release its Procurement Policy and procedures document by the end of 2014.


A top level flow chart of the procurement function

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