Did you employ AI to put in writing this tender? What? Simply asking! — Additionally, how will you employ AI to ship this contract? — Crack a Nut – Go Well being Professional

Extra usually, the AI PPN is sure to be controversial and has already spurred insightful dialogue on LinkedIn. I might advocate the posts by Kieran McGaughey and Ian Makgill. I provide some extra ideas right here and sit up for persevering with the dialog.

For my part, one of many potential points arising from the AI PPN is that it goals to cowl fairly just a few totally different features of AI in procurement, in addition to neglecting others. Barely simplifying, there are three broad areas of AI-procurement interplay. First, there may be the difficulty of shopping for AI-based options or providers. Second, there may be the difficulty of tenderers utilizing (generative) AI to put in writing or design their tenders. Third, there may be the difficulty of the usage of AI by contracting authorities, eg in relation to qualitative choice/exclusion, or analysis/award selections. The AI PPN covers features of . Nonetheless, it’s not clear to me that these may be handled collectively, as they pose considerably totally different coverage points. I’ll attempt to disentangle them right here.

Shopping for and utilizing AI

Though it primarily cross-refers to the Pointers for AI procurement, the AI PPN consists of some content material related to the procurement and use of AI when it stresses that ‘Industrial groups ought to be aware of current steerage when buying AI providers, nevertheless they need to additionally remember that AI and Machine Studying is turning into more and more prevalent within the supply of “non-AI” providers. The place AI is probably going for use within the supply of a service, industrial groups could want to require suppliers to declare this, and supply additional particulars. This may allow industrial groups to think about any extra due diligence or contractual amendments to handle the impression of AI as a part of the service supply.’ That is an ample and probably useful warning. Nonetheless, as mentioned beneath, the PPN suggests a solution to go about it that’s in my opinion unsuitable and probably very problematic.

AI-generated tenders

The AI PPN is nevertheless largely involved with the usage of AI for tender technology. It recognises that there ‘are potential advantages to suppliers utilizing AI to develop their bids, enabling them to bid for a higher variety of public contracts. You will need to word that suppliers’ use of AI just isn’t prohibited through the industrial course of however steps ought to be taken to know the dangers related to the usage of AI instruments on this context, as can be the case if a bid author has been utilized by the bidder.’ It signifies some potential steps contracting authorities can take, resembling:

  • ‘Asking suppliers to reveal their use of AI within the creation of their tender.’

  • ‘Endeavor applicable and proportionate due diligence:

    • If suppliers use AI instruments to create tender responses, extra due diligence could also be required to make sure suppliers have the suitable capability and functionality to fulfil the necessities of the contract. Such due diligence ought to be proportionate to any extra particular danger posed by means of AI, and will embrace web site visits, clarification questions or provider displays.

    • Extra due diligence ought to assist to determine the accuracy, robustness and credibility of suppliers’ tenders by means of the usage of clarifications or requesting extra supporting documentation in the identical approach contracting authorities would strategy any uncertainty or ambiguity in tenders.’

  • ‘Probably permitting extra time within the procurement to permit for due diligence and a rise in volumes of responses.’

  • ‘Nearer alignment with inside clients and supply groups to deliver higher experience on the implications and advantages of AI, relative to the subject material of the contract.’

For my part, there are just a few problematic features right here. Whereas the AI PPN appears to attempt to not single out the usage of generative AI as probably problematic by equating it to the attainable use of (human) bid writers, that is unconvincing. First, as a result of there may be (to my information) no steerage in any way on an evaluation of whether or not bid writers have been used, and since the AI PPN itself doesn’t require disclosure of the engagement of bid writers (o places any thought on the truth that third-party bid writers ma have used AI with out this being identified to the hiring tenderer, which might then require an extension of the disclosure of AI use additional down the tender technology chain). Second, as a result of the strategy taken within the AI PP appears to level at potential issues with the usage of (exterior, third-party) bid writers, whereas it doesn’t appear to object to the usage of (in-house) bid writers, probably by a lot bigger financial operators, which appears to presumptively not generate points. Third, and most significantly, as a result of it exhibits that maybe not sufficient has been completed to this point to deal with the potential deceit or provision of deceptive info in tenders if contracting authorities should now begin fascinated by tips on how to get expert-based evaluation of tenders, or develop fact-checking mechanisms to make sure bids are truthful. You’d have thought that whatever the origin of a young, contracting authorities ought to have the ability to verify their content material to an ample degree of due diligence already.

In any case, the most important problem with the AI PPN is the way it suggests contracting authorities ought to take care of this problem, as mentioned beneath.

AI-based assessments

The AI PPN additionally means that contracting authorities ought to be ‘Planning for a normal improve in exercise as suppliers could use AI to streamline or automate their processes and enhance their bid writing functionality and capability resulting in a rise in clarification questions and tender responses.’ One of many prospects could possibly be for contracting authorities to ‘combat hearth with hearth’ and likewise deploy generative AI (eg to make summaries, to scan for errors, and so on). Apparently, although, the AI PPN doesn’t instantly consult with the potential use of (generative) AI by contracting authorities.

Whereas it features a reference in Annex A to the Generative AI framework for HM Authorities, that doc doesn’t particularly deal with the usage of generative AI to handle procurement processes (and what it says about shopping for generative AI is redundant given the opposite steerage within the Annex). For my part, the generative AI framework pushes strongly towards the usage of AI in procurement when it identifies a collection of use circumstances to keep away from (web page 18) that embrace contexts the place high-accuracy and high-explainability are required. If that is the federal government’s (justified) view, then the AI PPN has been a missed alternative to say this extra clearly and instantly.

The broader problem of confidential, categorized or proprietary info

Each in relation to the procurement and use of AI, and the usage of AI for tender technology, the AI PPN stresses that it could be mandatory:

  • ‘Putting in proportionate controls to make sure bidders don’t use confidential contracting authority info, or info not already within the public area as coaching information for AI methods e.g. utilizing confidential Authorities tender paperwork to coach AI or Massive Language Fashions to create future tender responses.‘; and that

  • ‘In sure procurements the place there are nationwide safety issues in relation to make use of of AI by suppliers, there could also be extra issues and danger mitigations which can be required. In such cases, industrial groups ought to have interaction with their Data Assurance and Safety colleagues, earlier than launching the procurement, to make sure proportionate danger mitigations are carried out.’

These are points that may simply exceed the technical capabilities of most contracting authorities. It is rather arduous to know what information has been used to coach a mannequin and financial operators utilizing ‘off-the-shelf’ generative AI options will hardly be able to evaluate themselves, or present any significant info, to contracting authorities. Whereas there may be contractual constraints on the usage of info and information generated beneath a given contract, it’s way more difficult to evaluate whether or not info and information has been inappropriately used at a distinct hyperlink of more and more complicated digital provide chains. And, in any case, this isn’t solely a problem for future contracts. Information and data generated beneath contracts already in place might not be topic to ample information governance frameworks. It will appear {that a} extra muscular strategy to auditing information governance points could also be required, and that this shouldn’t be devolved to the procurement operate.

take care of it? — or the place the PPN goes unsuitable

The largest weak spot within the AI PPN is in the way it suggests contracting authorities ought to take care of the difficulty of generative AI. For my part, it will get it unsuitable in two other ways. First, by asking for an excessive amount of non-scored info the place contracting authorities are unlikely to have the ability to act on it with out breaching procurement and good administration ideas. Second, by asking for too little non-scored info that contracting authorities are beneath an obligation to attain.

An excessive amount of info

The AI PPN consists of two potential (different) disclosure questions in relation to the usage of generative AI in tender writing (see beneath Q1 and Q2).

Leave a Comment