Consultation To Open Up Public Sector Business To SMEs

Plans to make it easier and simpler for smaller businesses to bid for and win work across the public sector have been announced.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are a crucial engine for growth, accounting for 99.9 per cent of the UK’s 4.5 million businesses.

Building on central government reforms to make its business more accessible to small and medium sized businesses, and recognising good practice across the wider public sector, the government has launched a consultation taking forward Lord Young’s recommendations to create an SME-friendly ‘single market’ for public procurement.

Suppliers who want to do business with the public sector will be able to expect all organisations to follow a single set of principles when buying goods and services. The proposals will simplify and standardise how public contracts are advertised, bid for and paid for across the public sector.

The consultation proposals include:

introducing a requirement for all public sector contracts over £10,000 to be accessible on the same site
banning burdensome pre-qualification questionnaires for low value public sector contracts, and introducing a single standardised requirement for high value contracts
ensuring suppliers further down the supply chain benefit from the same standard payment terms that public bodies offer prime contractors to ensure prompt payment for public sector work

The consultation will also consider whether performance bonds, which act as a financial guarantee for suppliers, can impact adversely on SMEs.

You can view the consultation and find out how to respond on the GOV.UK website.

The consultation closes on 16 October 2013.