The Cabinet Office has launched another consultation on plans to improve small firms’ access to public procurement. The aim is to make it easier for SMEs to bid for public sector contracts.
Based on recommendations made in Lord Young’s ‘Growing Your Business’ report published in May this year, the proposals include:
Visibility – Finding Public Sector Contracts
All £10,000+ public sector contracts to be advertised on the same web-site Contracts Finder
Access – PQQs
- Removing arduous pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) for low-value public sector contracts
- Introducing a single standardised PQQ for high-value contracts
Completion / Guarantee bonds
An insurance scheme to replace completion bonds. These guarantee bonds can be expensive and difficult for SMEs.
Suppliers further down the supply chain to enjoy the same prompt payment terms that prime contractors receive from public sector contracts.
All public sector authorities to monitor and collect data on spend with SMEs, and for Government to report it in one place.
The Cabinet Office says: “Since 2010 there has been considerable progress in central government and many other parts of the public sector to open up the procurement process to SMEs. Burdensome Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) have been removed for almost all central government contracts below £100,000, and the proportion of central government spend with SMEs on goods and services is increasing.”
You can read the Cabinet Office press release. This consultation on public sector contracts closes on 17th October 2013.
You can view the documents and find out how to respond.
All of these initiatives sound sensible so do have your say and feel free to comment on any more ideas on improvements to public sector procurement that would help SMEs.