Easier public sector tendering for SMEs
30 November 2022
Measures are being put in place to make it easier for SME (small to medium enterprise) businesses to tender for public sector contracts.
Martin Traynor OBE, small business crown representative at the Cabinet Office, speaking at the the PASMA Conference in Derby, described how the government annually awards contracts worth £60 billion for goods and services, and aims to ensure that the equivalent of £1 in every £3 should be placed directly or indirectly with SMEs.
And when non-devolved public work is added, such as contracts with health and fire services, the total reaches £292 billion representing 14 per cent of GDP.
Martin said that, after canvassing small businesses in various sectors, the government established the Contracts Finder website. This lists every government contract valued above £10,000 and non-devolved sector work above £25,000.
Measures have been introduced to simplify the tendering procedure with a more straightforward – if somewhat long – questionnaire, with the ability to carry forward previously entered information to future applications, subsequently speeding up the process.
A business can sign up to receive alerts about relevant contracts in their sphere of activity.
Bidders also have to show that they pay their suppliers in accordance with the government’s Prompt Payment Code.
Interestingly, Martin said that applicants need to demonstrate awareness of bringing social value benefits, such as offering apprenticeships, and carbon reduction measures.