Government levels playing field for SMEs

The government says it is intent on giving smaller businesses better access to the £50billion of public contracts tendered each year.

Those contracts can include anything from supplying hospital equipment to providing public sector pensions.

It has now published a ‘Selling To Government Guide’, which it says will give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) essential information on how to bid for and win government contracts.

It includes advice on where business owners can look online for government contract opportunities.

The guide includes tips on how SMEs can make sure they are showcasing their strengths during the bidding process. This will be backed up by online webinar sessions for small businesses.

And the new publication also gives guidance on how businesses can secure work through supply chains by working with larger companies to help deliver things such as long-running IT or catering projects.

It even goes one step further, advising how the government considers Social Value when choosing suppliers.

It says this will then allow “agile, smaller enterprises” to highlight the work they do in their communities and ultimately offer them a better chance of winning government contracts.

Cabinet Office minister Lord Agnew said: “In the most recent figures, SMEs won more than £15billion in government contracts.

“But we want it to be easier for them to work with government and this guide will help small businesses navigate what can be a complex world of public procurement.

“That’s why we’re also bringing in sweeping procurement rules changes, to make it easier and more flexible for SMEs to win government work”.

The Cabinet Office has previously announced other measures which aim to level the playing field for SMEs in the ‘Transforming Public Procurement green paper’.

The government says the changes contained in the paper “will completely overhaul current EU rules”, removing barriers for smaller suppliers by getting rid of unnecessarily complicated regulations.

It adds that bureaucratic rules can put SMEs off bidding for contracts so the new reforms will open the door to public procurement for small and medium-sized companies.

The bidding process is being simplified to make it easier for SMEs to secure contracts by creating one single central platform which suppliers have to register on, so they only have to submit their data once to qualify for any public sector procurement.

To get a copy of the guide visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smes-a-guide-to-working-with-government