Buyers urged to work with smaller businesses

9 December 2005
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09 December 2005 | Anusha Bradley

Smaller firms are frequently better at providing flexibility, value for money and innovative ideas, according to a new guide.

Smaller Supplier…Better Value?, published this week by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), is an updated guide that recommends buyers consider the use of smaller businesses (SMEs).

The guide found that as SMEs are smaller they can often offer better quality of services. A number of UK SMEs rank higher than some larger firms in European innovation tables and buyers can benefit from this.

A Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) survey, also published this week, showed the share of public contracts awarded to SMEs has risen in the past year from 18 per cent to 22 per cent.

Barry Gardiner, small business minister for the DTI, said the increase was encouraging but added that the public sector "must do more to ensure it is making the best possible use of the innovation and dynamism SMEs can bring".

The OGC assists SMEs in bidding for work and holds training seminars for public-sector procurers and major vendors to help them include smaller firms in their supply base.

The DTI and the OGC are to jointly launch a web portal advertising all contracts under £100,000. They had hoped to launch the site by the autumn this year but delays mean it won't now be ready until early in 2006. They hope the site will make it easier for SMEs to compete for work.

Related links: Smaller Supplier…Better Value?

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